No. 294. Wednesday, February 6, 1712. Steele.

Difficile est plurimum virtutem revereri qui semper secunda fortuna sit usus.
Tull. ad Herennium.

Insolence is the Crime of all others which every Man is most apt to rail at; and yet is there one Respect in which almost all Men living are guilty of it, and that is in the Case of laying a greater Value upon the Gifts of Fortune than we ought. It is here in England come into our very Language, as a Propriety of Distinction, to say, when we would speak of Persons to their Advantage, they are People of Condition. There is no doubt but the proper Use of Riches implies that a Man should exert all the good Qualities imaginable; and if we mean by a Man of Condition or Quality, one who, according to the Wealth he is Master of, shews himself just, beneficent, and charitable, that Term ought very deservedly to be had in the highest Veneration; but when Wealth is used only as it is the Support of Pomp and Luxury, to be rich is very far from being a Recommendation to Honour and Respect. It is indeed the greatest Insolence imaginable, in a Creature who would feel the Extreams of Thirst and Hunger, if he did not prevent his Appetites before they call upon him, to be so forgetful of the common Necessity of Human Nature, as never to cast an Eye upon the Poor and Needy. The Fellow who escaped from a Ship which struck upon a Rock in the West, and join'd with the Country People to destroy his Brother Sailors and make her a Wreck, was thought a most execrable Creature; but does not every Man who enjoys the Possession of what he naturally wants, and is unmindful of the unsupplied Distress of other Men, betray the same Temper of Mind? When a Man looks about him, and with regard to Riches and Poverty beholds some drawn in Pomp and Equipage, and they and their very Servants with an Air of Scorn and Triumph overlooking the Multitude that pass by them; and, in the same Street, a Creature of the same Make crying out in the Name of all that is Good and Sacred to behold his Misery, and give him some Supply against Hunger and Nakedness, who would believe these two Beings were of the same Species? But so it is, that the Consideration of Fortune has taken up all our Minds, and, as I have often complained, Poverty and Riches stand in our Imaginations in the Places of Guilt and Innocence. But in all Seasons there will be some Instances of Persons who have Souls too large to be taken with popular Prejudices, and while the rest of Mankind are contending for Superiority in Power and Wealth, have their Thoughts bent upon the Necessities of those below them. The Charity-Schools which have been erected of late Years, are the greatest Instances of publick Spirit the Age has produced: But indeed when we consider how long this Sort of Beneficence has been on Foot, it is rather from the good Management of those Institutions, than from the Number or Value of the Benefactions to them, that they make so great a Figure. One would think it impossible, that in the Space of fourteen Years there should not have been five thousand Pounds bestowed in Gifts this Way, nor sixteen hundred Children, including Males and Females, put out to Methods of Industry. It is not allowed me to speak of Luxury and Folly with the severe Spirit they deserve; I shall only therefore say, I shall very readily compound with any Lady in a Hoop-Petticoat, if she gives the Price of one half Yard of the Silk towards Cloathing, Feeding and Instructing an Innocent helpless Creature of her own Sex in one of these Schools. The Consciousness of such an Action will give her Features a nobler Life on this illustrious Day, [1] than all the Jewels that can hang in her Hair, or can be clustered at her Bosom. It would be uncourtly to speak in harsher Words to the Fair, but to Men one may take a little more Freedom. It is monstrous how a Man can live with so little Reflection, as to fancy he is not in a Condition very unjust and disproportioned to the rest of Mankind, while he enjoys Wealth, and exerts no Benevolence or Bounty to others. As for this particular Occasion of these Schools, there cannot any offer more worthy a generous Mind. Would you do an handsome thing without Return? do it for an Infant that is not sensible of the Obligation: Would you do it for publick Good? do it for one who will be an honest Artificer: Would you do it for the Sake of Heaven? give it to one who shall be instructed in the Worship of him for whose Sake you gave it. It is methinks a most laudable Institution this, if it were of no other Expectation than that of producing a Race of good and useful Servants, who will have more than a liberal, a religious Education. What would not a Man do, in common Prudence, to lay out in Purchase of one about him, who would add to all his Orders he gave the Weight of the Commandments to inforce an Obedience to them? for one who would consider his Master as his Father, his Friend, and Benefactor, upon the easy Terms, and in Expectation of no other Return but moderate Wages and gentle Usage? It is the common Vice of Children to run too much among the Servants; from such as are educated in these Places they would see nothing but Lowliness in the Servant, which would not be disingenuous in the Child. All the ill Offices and defamatory Whispers which take their Birth from Domesticks, would be prevented, if this Charity could be made universal; and a good Man might have a Knowledge of the whole Life of the Persons he designs to take into his House for his own Service, or that of his Family or Children, long before they were admitted. This would create endearing Dependencies: and the Obligation would have a paternal Air in the Master, who would be relieved from much Care and Anxiety from the Gratitude and Diligence of an humble Friend attending him as his Servant. I fall into this Discourse from a Letter sent to me, to give me Notice that Fifty Boys would be Cloathed, and take their Seats (at the Charge of some generous Benefactors) in St. Brides Church on Sunday next. I wish I could promise to my self any thing which my Correspondent seems to expect from a Publication of it in this Paper; for there can be nothing added to what so many excellent and learned Men have said on this Occasion: But that there may be something here which would move a generous Mind, like that of him who writ to me, I shall transcribe an handsome Paragraph of Dr. Snape's Sermon on these Charities, which my Correspondent enclosed with this Letter.

The wise Providence has amply compensated the Disadvantages of the Poor and Indigent, in wanting many of the Conveniencies of this Life, by a more abundant Provision for their Happiness in the next. Had they been higher born, or more richly endowed, they would have wanted this Manner of Education, of which those only enjoy the Benefit, who are low enough to submit to it; where they have such Advantages without Money, and without Price, as the Rich cannot purchase with it. The Learning which is given, is generally more edifying to them, than that which is sold to others: Thus do they become more exalted in Goodness, by being depressed in Fortune, and their Poverty is, in Reality, their Preferment. [2]

T.

[Footnote 1: Queen Anne's birthday. She was born Feb. 6, 1665, and died Aug. 1, 1714, aged 49.]

[Footnote 2: From January 24 there occasionally appears the advertisement.

Just Published.

A very neat Pocket Edition of the SPECTATOR, in two volumes 12mo. Printed for S. Buckley, at the Dolphin, in Little Britain, and J. Tonson, at Shakespear's Head, over-against Catherine-Street in the Strand.]

Translation of motto:
TULL. ad Herennium.
'The man who is always fortunate cannot easily have much reverence for
virtue.'