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one unknown, and it
be from an enemy. You will allow yourself indeed “ to be prudent in the management of
your fortune; you are not a prodigal, « like Clodius, or Cataline; but surely that c deferves not the name of avarice. I will " inform
how to be convinced. Difguise your person, go among the com
mon people in Rome, introduce dif« courses about yourself, enquire your own « character: do the same in your camp; “ walk about it in the evening, hearken
at every tent; and if you do not hear every mouth censuring, lamenting, curf
ing this vice in you, and even you for “ this vice, conclude yourself innocent. “ If you be not yet persuaded, send for “ Atticus, Servius Sulpicius, Cato, or Bru
tus; they are all your friends; conjure " them to tell you ingenuously, which is your
great fault, and which they would chiefly wish you to correct; if they do “ not agree in their verdict, in the name of « all the gods, you are acquitted.
“ When your adversaries reflect how “ far you are gone in this vice, they are
tempted to talk as if we owed our suc“ cesses not to your courage or conduct,
« but to those veteran troops you com" mand; who are able to conquer under
any general, with so many brave and “ experienced officers to lead them. Be“ fides, we know the consequences your “ avarice hath often occasioned. The “ foldier hath been starving for bread, “ surrounded with plenty, and in an ene
my's country; but all under safeguards « and contributions; which, if you had “ sometimes pleased to have exchanged “ for provisions, might, at the expence of
a few talents in a campaign, have so " endeared
you to the army, that they « would have desired you to lead them to " the utmost limits of Asia. But you “ rather chose to confine your conquests “ within the fruitful country of Mesopo“ tamia, where plenty of money might « be raised. How far that fatal greediness “of gold may have influenced you in
breaking off the treaty with the old “ parthian king Orodes
, you best can tell; your enemies charge you with it; your “ friends offer nothing material in your “ defence; and all agree, there is nothing “ so pernicious, which the extremes of a“ varice may not be able to inspire.
“ The moment you quit this vice, you “ will be a truly great man; and still there " will imperfections enough remain to con“ vince us, you are not a god. Farewel.”
Perhaps a letter of this nature, sent to so reasonable a man as Crassus, might have put him upon examining into himself, and correcting that little fordid appetite fo utterly inconsistent with all pretences to heroism. A youth in the heat of blood may plead with some shew of reafon, that he is not able to subdue his lusts. An ambitious man may use the same arguments for his love of power; or perhaps other arguments to justify it. But excess of avarice hath neither of these pleas to offer; it is not to be justified, and cannot pretend temptation for excuse. Whence can the temptation come? Reason difclaims it altogether; and it cannot be said to lodge in the blood, or the animal spirits. So that I conclude, no man of true valour, and true understanding, upon whom this vice bath stolen unawares, when he is convinced he is guilty, will suffer it to remain in his breast an hour.
Thursday, February 15, 1710.
Inultus ut tu riseris Cotyttia?
An answer to the letter to the Examiner.
SIR, London, Feb. 15. 1710-11. AL
LTHOUGH I have wanted leisure
to acknowledge the honour of a letter, you was pleased to write to me about six months ago; yet I have been very careful in obeying some of your commands, and am going on as fast as I can with the rest. I wish you had thought fit to have conveyed them to me by a more private hand than that of the printinghouse: for, although I was pleased with a pattern of style and spirit, which I proposed to imitate, yet I was sorry the world should be a witness how far I fell short in both.
I am afraid you did not consider, what an abundance of work you have cut out for me; neither am I at all comforted by the promise you are so kind to make, that
when I have performed my task, D---- n fall blush in his grave among the dead, Walpole among the living, and even Volpone sball feel fome remorse. How the gentleman in his grave may have kept his countenance, I cannot inform you, having no acquaintance at all with the sexton : but for the other two, I take leave to assure you, there have not yet appeared the least signs of blushing, or remorse in either, although some very good opportunities have offered, if they had thought fit to accept them: so that with your permission, I had rather engage to continue this work until they be in their graves too; which I am sure will happen much sooner than the other.
You desire I would collect some of those indignities offered last year to her majesty. I am ready to oblige you; and have got a pretty tolerable collection by me, which I am in doubt whether to publish by itself in a large volume in folio, or scatter them here and there occasionally in my papers. Although indeed I am sometimes thinking to stifle them altogether ; because such a history will be apt to give foreigners a monstrous opinion of our country. But