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the abode of happiness. Under the specious title of benevolence, the greatest irregularities are described; and sensibility, that goddess of the idolatry of the present day, amply compensates for the grossest crimes. I would not be understood to pass an unlimited censure on novels; there are many which deserve greater commendation than is in my power to bestow. But I may be allowed to say, that the best of them too frequently represent things otherwise than they really exist. When those who are brought up in a more humble station, see manners and habits of life depicted of which they were before ignorant,—and when it is considered that these habits are described with every advantage that language can afford—it is certainly not to be wondered at, if envy at the superior fortune of others should obtain a lurking situation in their breasts. To this envy naturally succeeds a desire of imitating the objects represented, and an ambition to become of somewhat more importance in the eyes of the world.

The love of distinction is, in a greater or less degree, an inmate of every bosom; and although, in weak and frivolous minds, it may shew itself in such a manner as scarcely to be observed, or if observed, only with contempt, yet it does not therefore cease to be that same passion, which, whether

its object be laudable or no, is, in nobler minds, dignified with the name of ambition. It is truly ludicrous to observe the change which this foolish pride often produces in the sentiments and behaviour of men, whom perhaps we have long known as useful members of society, in their respective situations. To be addressed as plain Mr. is an affront never to be overlooked; whilst the title of ESQUIRE seems to possess a magic influence over all who, having fortunately scraped together a few thousands, are determined to live like somebody. It is impossible to read the columns of our public prints, without being completely disgusted at the eternal repetition of this word, misapplied in almost every instance. grocer or linen-draper takes a wife unto himself, it is announced to the public that Benjamin Bohea, ESQUIRE, was yesterday married to Miss Tripe, daughter of Timothy Tripe, ESQUIRE-and it is not without some difficulty that I recognize, under his new title, the man whom I saw a few days before, up to the elbows in dirt, labouring in the duties of his calling.

Should this ridiculous vanity gain much more ground, we may expect soon to see our taylors and shoemakers start upon us ESQUIRES, self-created. All these men are highly useful in their vocations, but over-stepping the bounds which

If my

nature has prescribed, they expose themselves to the derision and contempt of those whose good sense teaches them to be content in their stations, and who are sensible of the propriety of the advice—“ Ne sutor ultra crepidam.Laughable as it is to see a man, prompted by vanity, thus expose himself, when he actually possesses neither talents nor endowments beyond what may enable him to live quietly in the circle wherein he is placed by nature, yet the consequences may prove of more importance than is generally imagined. The indiscriminate ascription of the title of Esquire—which legally belongs only to the sacred office of a Magistrate, and to some others which I shall not here enumerate—to persons of every description, does certainly tend to the destruction of civil order and society. Man is so constituted as to render equality impossible; the visionary theory of a neighbouring nation has fallen to the ground, and completely demonstrated, that distinction of rank and mutual dependence are essentially necessary both to our private happiness and political existence. If my countrymen would but be content with those epithets of distinction to which they are justly entitled, their respectability would be placed on a firmer foundation, and the nowprostituted title of Esquire be restored to its

rightful owners, whose conduct would, I doubt not, reflect a lustre on the power whose representatives they are. Let those whose petty ambition soars above the appellation of an English merchant, remember, that virtue alone ennobles the soul ; and those who think wealth the summum bonum of life, recollect, that

Worth makes the man, the want of it the fellow."

I shall conclude this paper with the following history. Mercator was the only son of a reputable retail tradesman in a corporate town in the north of England. At his father's death, he succeeded to his business, and being honest in his dealings, and attentive to customers, he was generally respected by his townsmen. With his first wife he enjoyed several years of domestic happiness, until she was separated from him by death, leaving him a widower with three children, in the prime of life. For some time, this loss was severely felt by him; but meeting with a lady of considerable fortune, he was dazzled with her wealth, paid his addresses to her, and was married. The acquisition of riches proved the cause of his subsequent misfortunes. At the repeated importunities of his wife, he gave up his shop, embarked his property in shipping, of which he was totally ignorant, and commenced

gentleman. In a short time after, he was elected to the magistracy of the town,—and intoxicated with pride at the addition of Esquire to his name, he forgot all his former acquaintance. But, whilst big with self-importance he disgusted all who knew him, intelligence was brought of the total loss of his most valuable ship. The news was too much for his already half-turned head to bear; he grew dejected at the reverse of fortune, and was one morning found hanging dead in his chamber,-an example of the ill effects of petty ambition in the middling stations of life.

C.

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