Imatges de pàgina
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favourite offspring of one of my parents, I had full opportunity of convincing all those within my own immediate circle, that I would never bow down to any authority but that which I conceiv. ed to be just. This unlimited power, which I have hitherto possessed, has had various effects upon my character, at different periods or stages of my life.

During childhood it made me mischievous, headstrong, petulent, authoritative, and

very desperate in all my undertakings or adventures. At this period of my life, I despised, with equal contempt, the advice or the control of any human being.

But as my days increased in number, and my years became more advanced, that reason which God has bountifully bestowed upon all the sons and daughters of men, began to dawn upon the darkness that 'till then had dwelt upon the uncultivated garden of my mind, and like the morning star, that glimmering in the east, dispels the vaporous clouds of night, and with beaming lustre proclaims the glorious birth of day, sơ with equal radiance fired, the bright influence of reason, dispelled the darkness of

of reason,

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ignorance, that 'till then had occupied my mind.

I now began to observe the effects of unbridled passions upon society. I found a ne. cessity to control them, and render them amenable to the will and

power that they might be properly regulated so to produce good instead of harm to those of my fellow-creatures with whom I was nected, or held an immediate commerce with,

Perceiving that almost all the evils, under which mankind laboured, originated from this cause, I immediately set about a reformation in my own character, and began to check the impetuosity of those passions which I had, hitherto, suffered to take their own course, the great injury of my education; and by daily and determined efforts, I soon found myself capable of governing them, and directing them so as to produce great benefit to myself, instead of hurrying me into my former excesses; and I so far overcame my irrascia bility of temper, that I was soon considered to possess one of the best and most equal of dispositions

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I mention this circumstance, (which some may deem insignificant) to shew that perse. verance will finally accomplish the greatest apparent difficulties. I have many times (during that period of my life, when I was engaged amongst the public croud of society), heard persons declare that it is impossible to conquer irratibility of temper.

This assertion is absurd, and ill-founded. The most irritable dis. position 'can be rendered mild and placid by strength of mind, applied with all its force against the influence of those trifling and adventitious circumstances, that continually occur in life to vex and teaze mankind: I mean those painful realities of life, which relate to the means as well as the happiness of his existence, for surely no other circumstances are of sufficient influence to ruffle a man's temper. : If a man, possessing great natural abilities, who has unfortunately indulged the irratibility of his temper, until his peace of mind is perpetually disturbed by the most trifling circum. stances, will only exert that degree of mental power, which Nature has blessed him with, against every impression that can weaken it, he will find himself gradually rising above the influence of all the petty and trifling accidents of life; which I consider all those to be that do not tend towards the perfectability of the human mind.

It has often given me much pain to see very highly-gifted men suffer themselves to be carried away by their passion, and consequently guilty of follies and crimes, which their cool hours of reason have afterwards so justly condemned, when with so small an exertion of their minds, they might triumph over such a despicable weakness.

It was at a very early period of my life that I began to perceive the great weight and consequence which a man derived from the cultivation of his mind. I soon found that knowledge was the only permanent power a man could obtain. Riches, indeed, I saw had an astonishing influence upon the general condition of society. Emerging from the shade of my paternal roof, under which I had ever been taught that merit was the only standard by which a man's worth, or excellence, should be adjudged, I very naturally supposed that those who had the greatest general influence in society, were the most meritorious for mental endowments or accom

plishments; but I was soon most miserably mistaken. I found myself spurned and looked upon contemptuously by persons who were proud, ignorant, and in every respect but one, my inferiors, from the accidental circumstance that they were in the possession of a few more guineas than myself. The existence of such folly and injustice amongst a people who made a boast of their peculiarly enlightened age, gave me poignant anguish, and sowed the first seeds of disgust, for what is termed a worldly life, in my mind.

“ What wond'rous prize has kindled this career, 6 Stuns with the din, and choaks us with the dust; “ On life's gay stage, one inch above the grave ? “ The proud run up and down in quest of eyes; “ The sensual in pursuit of something worse ; “ The grave, of gold; the politic, of pow'r; " And all, of other butterflies, as vain! As eddies draw things frivolous, and light, “ How is man's heart by vanity drawn in! « On the swift circle of returning toys; “ Whirld, straw-like, round and round, and then ingulph'd, " Where gay delusion darkens to despair !

Since almost every human being seems to allow that mental power, raised upon a strictly virtuous foundation, is alone worthy of dis

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