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thing, and stick to it inviolably, as far as unexpected incidents may allow. Fix one certain hour and day in the week for your accompts, and keep them together in their proper order; by which means they will require very little time, and you can never be much cheated. Whatever letters and papers you keep , docket and tie them up in their respective classes, so that you may instantly have recourse to any one. Lay down a method also for your reading, for which you allot a certain share of your mornings,
let it be in a consistent and consecutive course, and not in that desultory and immethodical manner , in which many people read scraps of different authors upon different subjects. Keep a useful and short common-place book of what you read, to help your memory only, and not for pedantic quotations. Never read history without having maps, and a chronological book, or tables , lying hy you, and constantly recurred to, without which, history is only a confused heap of facts. One method more I recommend to you, by which I have found great benefit, even in the most dissipated part of my life; that is, to rise early, and at the same hour
ing , how late soever you may have sat up the night before.
You will say, it may be, as many young people would, that all this order and method is very troublesome, only fit for dull people , and a disagreeable restraint upon the noble spirit and fire of youth. I deny it; and assert, on the contrary, that it will procure you both more time and more taste for your pleasures; and, so far from being troublesome to you,
after you have pursued it a month , it would be troublesome to you to lay it aside.
ON M O D E S T Y.
Modesty is a very good quality, and which generally accompanies true merit ; it engages and captivates the minds of people; as, on the other hand, nothing is more shocking and disgustful than presumption and impudence. We cannot like a man who is always commending and speaking well of himself, and who is the hero of his own story. On the contrary, a man who endeavours to conceal his own merit ; who sets that of other people in its true light; who speaks but little of himself, and with modesty : such a man makes a favourable impression upon the understanding of his hear. ers, and acquires their love and esteem.
There is , however, a great difference between modesty, and an awkward bashfulness; which is as ridiculous as true modesty is commendable. It is as absurd to be a simpleton', as to be an impudent fellow; and one ought to know how to come into a room, speak to people, and answer them , without being out of countenance, or without embarrassment. The English are generally apt to be bashful, and have not those easy , free , and at the same time polite manners, which the French have. A mean fellow, or a country bumpkin , is ashamed when he comes into good company : he appears embarrassed, does not know what to do with his hands; is disconcerted when spoken to , answers with difficulty, and almost stammers : whereas a gentleman, who is used to the world , comes into company with a graceful and proper assurance, speaks even to people he does not know, without embarrassment,
and in a natural and easy manner. This is called usage of the world, and good breeding; a most necessary and important knowledge in the intercourse of life. It frequently happens that a man with a great deal of sense, but with little usage of the world, is not so well received as one of inferior parts , but with a gentleman-like behaviour.
These are matters worthy your attention ; reflect on them, and unite modesty to a polite and easy assurance. Adieu.
ON V IR T U E.
were to bid
V IRTUE is a subject that deserves your and every man's attention : and suppose I
make some verses , or give me your thoughts in prose, upon the subject of Virtue , How would you go about it? Why you would first consider what Virtue is, and then what are the effects and marks of it, both with regard to others, and one's self. You would find, then, that Virtue consists in doing good , and in speaking truth ; and that the effects of it are advan
tageous to all mankind, and to one's self in particular. Virtue makes us pity and relieve the misfortunes of mankind ; it makes us promote justice and good order in society : and, in general , contributes to whatever tends to the real good of mankind. To ou selves it gives an inward comfort and satisfaction , which noth ing else can do , and which nothing can rob us of. All other advantages depend upon others, as much as upon ourselves. Riches, power, and greatness may be taken away from us, by the violence and injustice of others, or by inevitable accidents; but Virtue depends only upon ourselves, and nobody can take it away from us. Sickness may deprive us of all the pleasures of the body: but it cannot deprive us of our Virtue, nor of the satisfaction which we feel from it. A virtuous man, under all the misfortunes of life, stilt finds an inward comfort and satisfaction, which makes him happier than any wicked man can be , with all the other advantages of life. If a' man has acquired great power and riches by falsehood , injustice, and oppression , he cannot enjoy them ; because his conscience will torment him, and constantly reproach him with the means by