Billeder på siden

enjoy together. Even the servants wonder and are pleased with the change. I overheard two of them felicitate themselves on it, and remark, that there was no mistress in the world with whom they could more willingly live, if she could but forsake her way of finding fault upon all occasions. Pray tell her that scolding and ill-humour will disfigure beauty itself, and cast such a shade round the most accomplished woman as few will be at the pains to penetrate, in order to admire her real excellencies. Tell her, that if she can but forsake her bad habit, she will again become the darling, the joy and delight of her husband; and again display those abilities and perfections to advantage before others, which the world has almost forgotten belong to her. Tell her, moreover, that peace and good humour are blessings even to the possessors of them. She is a great admirer of your speculations, and will, no doubt, be benefitted in common with other females of the united kingdom, by the perusal of what your sage abilities and long observation will enable you to say on the subject. I am, (in hopes of your success) “ Your very humble servant,



[blocks in formation]

THERE is scarcely an action in public or private life which might not be tried to advantage by the plain rule of reason contained in the above motto. The shrewd query · Cui bono,' What good ? would in all cases serve as a most excellent preventative against the various mistakes and blunders men are constantly making in the greater and lesser engagements, and pursuits of the world. Many there are who must now regret that they had not asked themselves this short question, before they had become involved in the adventures of ambition, or of pleasure, and many there are who would have been rich who are now poor, only for the want of so good a friend as cui bono is, when listened to with a moment's attention. Even nations as well as individuals might measure the great actions of their states by this standard, and numerous would appear, the mighty blunders evinced in their declarations of war, &c. when peace would have been the truly desirable object of countries, had the poor little monitor, cui bono, been permitted fair play, and his honest question not drowned by the


thunder of ambition, and the squabbling of such as were anxiously waiting for the loaves and fishes; and which, if there were a fair representation in a country, would seldom happen, for cui bono would then speak to better advantage, keep the blockhead governments from falling out, and going to war be rarely known.

To contrast a public folly with a private one, the going to law is, perhaps, the next thing worthy notice, cui bono would certainly operate nine times out of ten to prevent men from trusting to its glorious uncertainties, and to their arriving, after a long time, to the great satisfaction frequently given to the two parties, that of each having their own costs to pay.

Speculation is another offence and enemy to society, which poor little cui bono might frequently prevent, by only introducing the word real into the sentence. What real good are we to expect from this new scheme to which we so foolishly attach unrealized riches ? we are, perhaps, very well and comfortable as we are, and

LET WELL ALONE,” is an old adage that seems a very near relation to cui bono, and of the sameworthy family; who once by their plain honest and prudential maxims gave riches to the citizens of London, before accommodation bills were ever known or thought of, and when guineas were heaped on the counters of our banking houses.

Cui bono might also be attended to with advantage when we are going to build a house, going to the Stock

It is only

Exchange, going to lend our money, going to keep a mistress, and even it might be proper to attend to the hint when we are going to be married. It would, in all these cases, afford us the opportunity to measure present advantages against future possibilities, to set a value on those things that are blessings in possession, and to know the true value of expectation, which is a promise to us almost always kept when we seek what is truly reasonable, and really good for us. the vain idle phantoms of pride or ambition, that deceive us as an ignis fatuus in our journey through life; and thus it is, that the same man who might have enjoyed his family fire side in peace and comfort, is, perhaps, become the inhabitant of a prison for the debtscontracted for the materials of the building ofpride or ambition which his disordered fancy had planned. It is then that he is sorry that he had not listened to the admonition of cui bono, even with relation to the success of his scheme, and the probable danger of failing; for it happens constantly, that in these arduous attempts to have more than is necessary to our lappiness, le jeu ne vaut pas le chandelle ; and we fa. tigue ourselves in a career that is frequently stopt by disappointment, and at most finds its end nearly with the acquisition, by what we know to be the ultimatum of our advantages and misfortunes, a certainty which raises the value of reasonable present enjoyments which we can keep, infinitely above those which we must wait for, never may obtain, or if we should obtain, must part with so soon.


No man has more occasion for the use of the caution, cui bono, than the good-natured man, which character has been falsely denominated a fool; when the fact is, that the good-natured man acts from the most just principles of charity, that would never dishonour him if it were not for the stratagems of the world, that despoil the nature of generosity; he does not want wisdom for it is wise to help our neighbour, but he wants cunning, a contemptible article only made necessary by the achievements of knaves over the kind and ge

Cui bono is therefore an excellent adviser to such a man; for if any applications are made to his philanthropy, he has only to consider the real service he can do his friend, and if upon a candid explanation of his situation he may find that he can assist, let him do it freely; but if it is merely to support extravagance, false appearances, or the folly of concealing a little longer, growing and weighty embarrassments, cui bono will be a prudent query, and if his friend may fall, will leave him something to alleviate his real distress, instead of sinking also by the adhesion to ruinous circumstance. Cui bono will also protect him from the swindler, and the man of elegant address; he may apply the French saying to advantage, what is there dans ses beaux yeur, that I should do this for him ? Cui bono would also deter many a man from going to the gaming table, as it would induce the reflection that experience affords us of the ruin attendant upon play, and to speak in the gamester's own terms, the great odds against the man who opposes himself to the skilful

« ForrigeFortsæt »