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ESSAYS,

HUMOUROUS, MORAL, AND

LITERARY, &c.

day of

1 head Liberty

; jeneral

rited it,

ON EARLY MARRIAGES.

TO JOHN ALLEYNE, ESQ.

DEAR JACK,

YOU desire, you say, my impartial thoughts on the subject of an early marriage, by way of answer to the *numberless objections that have been made by numerous persons to your own. You may remember when you consulted me on the occasion, that I thought youth on both sides to be no objection. Indeed, from the marriages that have fallen under my observation, I am rather inclined to think, that early ones stand the best chance of happiness. The temper and habits of the young are not yet become so stiff and uncomplying, as when more advanced in life; they form more easily to each other, and hence many occasions of disgust are removed. And if youth has less of that prudence which is necessary to manage a family, yet the parents and elder friends of

young married

persons are generally at hand to afford their advice, which amply supplies that defect; and by early marriage, youth is

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it may be.

sooner formed to regular and useful life ; and possibly some of those accidents or connections, that might have injured the constitution or reputation, or both, are thereby happily prevented. Particular circumstances of particular persons, may possibly sometimes make it prudent to delay entering into that state; but in general, when nature has rendered our bodies fit for it, the presumption is in nature's favour, that she has not judged amiss in making us desire it. Late marriages are often attended, too, with this further inconvenience, that there is not the same chance that the parent shall live to see their offspring educated. “Late children," says the Spanish proverb, “are early orphans.” A melancholy reflection to those whose case

With us in America, marriages are generally in the morning of life ; our children are therefore educated and settled in the world by noon; and thus, our business being done, we have an afternoon and evening of chearful leisure to ourselves, such as our friend at present enjoys. By these early marriages we are blessed with more children ; and from the mode , among us, founded by nature, of every mother suckling and nursing her own child, more of them are raised. Thence the swift progress of population among us, unparalleled in Europe. In fine, I am glad you are married, and congratulate you most cordially upon it. You are now in the way of becoming a useful citizen; and you have escaped the unnatural state of celibacy for life~the fate of many here, who never intended it, but who having too long postponed the change of their condition, find, at length, that it is too late to think of it, and so live all their lives in a situation that greatly lessens a man's value. An odd volume of a set of books bears not the value of its proportion to the set: what think you of the odd half of a pair of scissors ? it can't well do any thing; it may possibly serve to scrape a trencher.

Pray make my compliments and best wishes acceptable to your bride. I am old and heavy, or I should

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ere this have presented them in person. I shall make but small use of the old man's privilege, that of giving advice to younger friends. Treat your wife always with respect; it will procure respect to you, not only from her, but from all that observe it. Never use a slighting expression to her, even in jest ; for slights in jest, after frequent bandyings, are apt to end in angry carnest: Be studious in your profession, and you will be learned. Be industrious and frugal, and you will be rich. Be sober and temperate, and you will be healthy. Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy. At least, you will, by such conduct, stand the best chance for such consequences. I pray God to bless you both! being ever your affectionate friend,

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tate of

herer

ed the is too situa

I CONDOLE with you. We have lost a most dear and valuable relation. But it is the will of God and nature, that these mortal bodies he laid aside, when the soul is to enter into real life. This is rather an embryo state, a preparation for living. A man is not completely born until he be dead.

Why then should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals, a new member added to their happy society ? We are spirits. That bodies should be lent us, while they can afford us pleasure, assist us in acquiring knowledge, or doing good to our fellow-creatures, is a kind and

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benevolent act of God. When they become unfit for these purposes, and afford us pain instead of pleasure, instead of an aid become an incumbrance, and answer none of the intentions for which they were given, it is caually kind and benevolent that a way is prorided by which we may get rid of them. Death is that way. We ourselves, in some cases, prudently choose a partial death. A mangled painful limb), which can ot be restored, we willingly cut off. He who plucks out a tooth, parts with it freely, since the pain goes with it: and he who quits the who e body, parts at once with all pains, and possibilities of pains and diseases, it was liable to, or capable of making him suffer.

Our friend and we were invited abroad on a party of pleasure, 'vhich is to last for ever. His chair was leady first; and he is gone before us. We could not all conveniently start together: and why should you and I be grieved at this, since we are soon to follow, and know where to find him?

Adieu,

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I RECEIVED your kind letter, with your excellent advice to the United States, which I read with great pleasure, and hope it will be duly regarded. Such writings, though they may be lightly passed over by many readers, yet, if they make a deep impression on one active mind in a hundred, the cffects may be considerable.

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Permit me to mention one little instance, which, though it relates to myself, will not be quite uninteresting to you. When I was a boy, I met with a book entitled, “ Essays to do goodl," which I think was written by your father. It had been so little regarded by a former possessor, that several leaves of it were torn out; but the remainder gave me such a turn of thinking, as to have an influence on my conduct through life : for I have "always set a geater value on the character of a doer of good, than any other kind of reputation : and if I have been, as you seem to think, a useful citizen, the public owes the advantage of it to that book.

You mention your being in your soventy-eighth year. I am in my seventy-ninth. We are grown old together. It is now more than sixty years since I left Boston ; but I remember well both your father and grandfather, having heard them both in the pulpit, and seen them in their houses. The last time I saw your father was in the beginning of 1724, when I visited him after my first trip to Pennsylvania : he received me in his library; and on my taking leave, shewed me a shorter way out of the house, through a narrow passage, which was crossed by a beam over head.

We were still talking as I withdrew, he accompanying me behind, and I turning partly towards him, when he said hastily, « Stoop, Stoop!" I did not understand him till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man who never missed any occasion of giving instruction : and upon this he said to me : " You are young and have the world before you : stoop as you go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps This ad. vice tiius beat into my heart, has frequently been of use 10 me; and I often think of it when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people by their carrying their heads ioo high.

I long much to see again my native place; and once hoped to lay my bones there. I left it in 17. ; I visited it in 1733, 1743, 1753, and 1763; and in 773 I was in England. In 1775 I had a sight of it, but could not

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