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Adapt the education of a man to his personal and not accidental abilities. Do you not see that by bringing him up only to fill one station, you make him unfit for every other, and that mere. accident may render all the pains you have taken useless, or destructive to him? Is there a more ridiculous being on earth than a lord, become a beggar, and retaining in his misery the prejudice attached to his birth? Is there any thing more vile and contemptible, than a rich man become poor, sensible of the disgrace of poverty, and reduced to the lowest of the human species? The one hath no other resource than to turn common cheat, and the other servilely to put on a livery.
You place a dependence on the actual order of society, without thinking that order subject to unavoidable revolutions. The high may be reduced low, and the rich may become poor, and even the monarch dwindle into a subject. We certainly are approaching the crisis of human establishments, the age of political revolutions. Who can assure you what will be your lot ? All that men have made, men may destroy. There · are no characters indelible but those imprinted by nature ; and nature never made man royal, noble, or ich. What then will become of the pupil you have educated to live only in splendour, when debased into indigence and meanness? What will become of a farmer of the revenues, whose soul delights in nothing but wealth, when reduced to want and beggary? How miserable must be the situation of that pampered helpless being,
who, destitute of every thing, is incapable of providing in the least for himself, and places all his satisfaction in things dependent on others. Happy is he who knows how to quit a rank that is quitting him, and to remain still a man in spite of fortune. Let others lavish what encomiums they please on the frantic behaviour of the vanquished monarch who wanted to bury himself alive in the ruins of his throne ; for my part, I hold him in contempt. It appears to me that his existence depended on his crown, stripped of which he was no longer any thing : but the monarch who can throw aside the robes of royalty, and be still himself, is then infinitely superior to a crown. From the rank of a king, which may be filled by a coward, a knave, or a fool, he rises to that of a' . man, which so few are able to fill with decency and dignity. Such a man may brave the vicissitudes of fortune, and will triumph over them : he owes nothing to any one but himself, and though destitute of all adventitious aid, is not therefore annihilated. How infinitely preferable in my eyes is the King of Syracuse, turned schoolmaster at Corinth; a King of Macedon become a notary at Rome; to the unhappy Tarquin ignorant how to subsist without a kingdom ; to the heir of a race of kings become the sport of all who are brutal enough to exult in his misery, wandering from court to court in search of relief, and meeting on every side with nothing but mockery and insult, and all for want of knowing how to exercise any other employment than that
in which he had been educated, and which was no longer in his power.
Emile, liv. 3. Men excepted, no creature is esteemed beyond its proper qualities. We commend a horse for his strength and sureness of foot, not for his rich caparisons; a grey hound for his heels, not for his fine collar; a hawk for her wing, not for her gesses and bells. Why in like manner do we not value a man for what is properly his own? He has a superb train, a beautiful palace, .,so much credit, such a revenue : all these are about him, not in him. If you cheapen a horse you have him stripped of his housing-clothes, that he may appear naked and open to your eye. Why in giving your estimate of man do you prize him wrapped and inuffled up ? He then discovers nothing to you but such parts as are not in the least his own; and conceals those by which alone one may rightly judge of his worth. It is the value of the blade you inquire into, and not of the scabbard. You are to judge of him by himself, not by what he wears. As one of the antients very pleasantly observed, Do you know why you repute him tall ? You take into the account the height of his pattens, whereas the pedestal is no part of the statue. Measure him without his stilts, let him lay aside his revenues and his titles, let him present himself in his shirt, then examine if his body be sound and spritely, active, and disposed to forin its function. What mind has
he? Is it beautiful, and capacious, and happily provided with all its faculties? Is it rich in what is its own, or in what it has borrowed ? Has fortune no hand in the affair ? That is what is to be examined, and by that are we to judge of the difference between man and man.
If we consider a peasant and a king, a nobleman and a vassal, a magistrate and a private individual, a rich man and a poor one, there appears a vast disparity, though they difter no more, as a man may say, than in their breeches.
In Thrace the king was distinguished from his people in a very pleasant and extraordinary way : he had a religion to himself, a God too all his own, and which his subjects were not to adore, viz. Mercury ; while, on the other hand he disdained to have any thing to do with theirs, Mars, Bacchus, and Diana. And yet they are no other than pictures, that make no essential difference; for as you see actors in a play, representing the person of a duke or an emperor, upon the stage, and immediately after, in the tiring room, return to their true and original condition, of footmen and porters; so it is with the emperor, whose pomp so dazzles you in public; peep but behind the curtain, and you will see nothing more than an ordinary man.-Do fevers, gout, and the head-ach, spare him more than any one of us ? When old age hangs heavy upon a prince's shoul. ders, can the yeomen of his guard ease hiin of the burthen ? When terrified at the apprehension of death, can the lords of his bed-chamber secure
him? When jealousy, or any other caprice swims in his brain, can our fulsome compliments re. store him to bis good humour? The canopy embroidered with pearl and gold under which he lies, has no virtue to relieve fits of the cholic. At the first twitch of the gout, it is to much purpose to be called Sire, and your Majesty. Does he not forget his palaces and grandeur ? All the real advantages of princes are common to them with other orders of men. It is for the Gods to mount winged horses and feed upon ambrosia: kings have no other sleep and no other apperire than we; their crowns neither defend them from the rain nor the sun. They are but men at the best, and if ill shaped from the birth, the empire of the universe cannot set them to rights, :. The flatterers of Alexander possessed hiin with the idea, that he was the son of Jupiter ; but being one day wounded, and observing the blood stream from his wound, what say you now, said he, is not this of a crimson colour, and in all respects like the blood of a human being?
Essays, b. 1. ch. 42. CANUTE, the greatest and most powerful monarch of his time, sovereign of Denmark and Norway, as well as of England, could not fail of meeting with adulation from his courtiers, a tribute which is liberally paid, even to the meanest and weakest princes. Some of his flatterers break. ing out, one day, in admiration of his grandeur, exclaimed that every thing was possible for him ;