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common men march into open breaches, meet opposite battalions, not only without reluctance but with alacrity: My friend answered what I said in the following man.
• V'hat you wonder at may very naturally be the subject of admiration to all who are not conversant in camps; but when a man has spent some time in that way of life, he observes a certain mechanic courage which the ordinary race of men become masters of from acting always in a crowd. They see indeed many drop, but then they see many more alive; they observe themselves. escape very narrowly, and they do not know why they should not again. Besides such general way of loose thinking, they usually spend the other part of their time in pleasures upon which their minds are so entirely bent, that short labours or dangers are but a cheap purchase of jollity, triumph, victory, fresh quarters, new scenes, and uncommon adventures. Such are the thoughts of the executive part of an army, and indeed of the gross of mankind in general; but none of these men of mechanical courage have ever made any great figure in the profession of arms. These who are formed for command, are such as have reasoned themselves, out of a consideration of greater good than length of days, into such a negligence of their being, as to make it their first position, That it is one day to be resigned; and since it is, in the prosecution of worthy actions and service of mankind, they can put it to habitual hazard. The event of our designs, say they, as it relates to others, is uncertain; but as it relates to ourselves it must be prosperous, while we are in the pursuit of our duty, and within the terms upon which Providence has insured our happiness, whether we die or live. All that nature has prescribed must be good; and as dvath is natural to us, it is absurdity to fear it. Fear loses its purpose when we are sure it cannot preserve us, and we should draw resolution to meet it from the impossibility to escape it. Without a resignation to the necessity of dying, there can be no capacity in man to attempt any thing that is
glorious: but when they have once attained to that perfection, the pleasures of a life spent in martial adventures, are as great as any of which the human mind is capable. The force of reason gives a certain beauty, mixed with the conscience of well-doing and thirst of glory, to all which before was terrible and ghastly to the imagination. Add to this, that the fellowship of danger, the common good of mankind, the general cause, and the manifest virtue you may observe in so many men, who made no figure until that day, are so many incentives to destroy the little consideration of their own persons. Such are the heroic part of Soldiers who are qualified for Leaders. As to the rest whom I before spoke of, I know not how it is, but they arrive at a certain habit of being void of thought, insomuch that on occasions of the most imminent danger they are still in the same indifference. Nay, I remember an instance of a gay Frenchman, who was led on in battle by a superior officer, (whose conduct it was his custom to speak of always with contempt and raillery) and in the beginning of the action received a wound he was sensible was mortal; his reflection on this occasion was,
" I wish I could live another hour, to see how this blundering coxcomb will get clear of this business."
• I remember two young fellows who rode in the same squadron of a troop of horse, who were ever together: they eat, they drank, they intrigued; in a word, all their passions and affections seemed to tend the same way, and they appeared serviceable to each other in them. We were in the dusk of the evening to march over a river, and the troop these gentlemen belonged to were to be transported in a ferry-boat, as fast as they could. One of the friends was now in the boat, while the other was drawn up with others by the waterside, waiting the return of the boat. A disorder happened in the passage by an unruly horse ; and a gentleman who had the rein of his horse negligently under his arın, was forced into the water by his horse's jump
ing ing over. The friend on the shore cried out, Who is that is drowned, trow? He was immediately answered, Your friend, HARRY THOMPSON. He very gravely replied, “ Ay, he had a mad horse.” This short epitaph from such a familiar, without more words, gave me, at that time under twenty, a very moderate opinion of the friendship of companions. Thus is affection and every other motive of life in the generality rooted out by the present busy scene about them : they lament no man whose capacity can be supplied by another; and where men converse without delicacy, the next man you meet will serve as well as he whom you have ived with half your life. To such the devastation of countries, the misery of inhabitants, the cries of the pillaged, and the silent sorrow of the great unfortunate, are ordinary objects; their minds are bent upon the little gratifications of their own senses and appetites, forgetful of compassion, insensible of glory, avoiding only shame; their whole hearts taken up with the trivial hope of meeting and being merry. These are the people who make up the gross of the Soldiery. But the fine Gentleman in that band of men is such a one as have now in my eye, who is foremost in all danger to which he is ordered. His officers are his friends and companions, as they are men of honour and gentlemen; tlie private men his brethren, as they are of his species. He is beloved of all that behold him. They wish him in danger as he views their ranks, that they may have occasions to save him at their own hazard. Mutual love is the order of the files where he commands; every man afraid for himself and his neighbour, not lest their commander should punish them, but lest he should be offended. Such is his regiment who knows mankind, and feels their distresses so far as to prevent them. Just in distributing what is their due, he would think himself below their taylor, to wear a snip of their clothes in lace upon his own; and below the most rapacious agent, should he enjoy a farthing above his own pay. Go on, brave man, immortal glory is thy fortune, and immortal happiness thy reward.'
SATURDAY, AUGUST 25, 1711.
Habet natura ut aliarum omnium rerum sic vivendi modum se.
nectus autem peractio ætatis est tanquam fabulæ. Cujus defatigationem fugere debemus præsertim adjunctâ satietate.
TULL. DE SENECT.
* Life, as well as all other things, hath its bounds assigned by na
ture ; and its conclusion, like the last act of a play, is old age, " the fatigue of which we ought to shun, especially when our cc appetites are fully satisfied.”
ON OLD AGE.
OF all the impertinent wishes which we hear expressed in conversation, there is not one more unworthy a gentleman or a man of liberal education, than that of wishing one's self younger. I have observed this wish is usually made upon sight of some object which gives the idea of a past action, that it is no dishonour to us that we cannot now repeat; or else on what was in itself shameful when we performed it. It is a certain sign of a foolish or dissolute mind, if we want our youth again only for the strength of bones and sinews which we once were masters of. It is (as my author has it) as absurd in an old man to wish for the strength of a youth, as it would be in a young man to wish for the strength of a bull or a horse. These wishes are both equally out of nature, which should direct in all things that are not contradictory to justice, law, and reason.
But though every old man has been young, and every young one hopes to be old, there seems to be a most uunatural misunderstanding between those two stages of life. The unhappy want of commerce arises from the insolent arrogance or exultation in youth, and the irrational despondence or self-pity in age. A young man whose passion and ambition is to be good and wise, and an old one who has no inclination to be lewd or debauched, are quite unconcerned in this speculation ; but the cocking young fellow who treads upon the toes of his elders, and the old fool who envies the saucy pride lie sees him in, are the objects of our present contempt and derision. Contempt and derision are harsh words; but in what manner can one give advice to a youth in the pursuit and possession of sensual pleasures, or afford pity to an old man in the impotence and desire of enjoying them ? When young men in public places betray in their deportment an abandoned resignation to their appetites, they give to sober minds a prospect of a despicable age, which, if not interrupted by death in the midst of their follies, must certainly come. When an old man bewails the loss of such gratifications which are passed, he discovers a monstrous inclination to that which it is not in the course of Providence to recall. The state of an old man, who is dissatisfied merely for his being such, is the most out of all measures of reason and good sense of any being we have any account of from the highest angel to the lowest worm. How miserable is the contemplation to consider a libidinous old man (while all created things besides himself and devils, are following the order of Providence) fretting at the course of things, and being almost the sole malecontent in the creation. But let us a little reflect upon what he has lost by the number of years. The passions which he had in youth are not to be obeyed as they were then, but reason is more powerful now without the disturbance of them. An old gentleman the other day in discourse with a friend