As great and exalted Spirits undertake the Pursuit of hazardous Actions for the Good of others, at the same Time gratifying their Passion for Glory; so do worthy Minds in the domestick Way of Life deny themselves many Advantages, to satisfy a generous Benevolence which they bear to their Friends oppressed with Distresses and Calamities. Such Natures one may call Stores of Providence, which are actuated by a secret Celestial Influence to undervalue the ordinary Gratifications of Wealth, to give Comfort to an Heart loaded with Affliction, to save a falling Family, to preserve a Branch of Trade in their Neighbourhood, and give Work to the Industrious, preserve the Portion of the helpless Infant, and raise the Head of the mourning Father. People whose Hearts are wholly bent towards Pleasure, or intent upon Gain, never hear of the noble Occurrences among Men of Industry and Humanity. It would look like a City Romance, to tell them of the generous Merchant who the other Day sent this Billet to an eminent Trader under Difficulties to support himself, in whose Fall many hundreds besides himself had perished; but because I think there is more Spirit and true Gallantry in it than in any Letter I have ever read from Strepkon to Phillis, I shall insert it even in the mercantile honest Stile in which it was sent.
I Have heard of the Casualties which have involved you in extreme Distress at this Time; and knowing you to be a Man of great Good-Nature, Industry and Probity, have resolved to stand by you. Be of good Chear, the Bearer brings with him five thousand Pounds, and has my Order to answer your drawing as much more on my Account. I did this in Haste, for fear I should come too late for your Relief; but you may value your self with me to the Sum of fifty thousand Pounds; for I can very chearfully run the Hazard of being so much less rich than I am now, to save an honest Man whom I love.
Your Friend and Servant,
[W. S. ]
I think there is somewhere in Montaigne Mention made of a Family-book, wherein all the Occurrences that happened from one Generation of that House to another were recorded. Were there such a Method in the Families, which are concerned in this Generosity, it would be an hard Task for the greatest in Europe to give, in their own, an Instance of a Benefit better placed, or conferred with a more graceful Air. It has been heretofore urged, how barbarous and inhuman is any unjust Step made to the Disadvantage of a Trader; and by how much such an Act towards him is detestable, by so much an Act of Kindness towards him is laudable. I remember to have heard a Bencher of the Temple tell a Story of a Tradition in their House, where they had formerly a Custom of chusing Kings for such a Season, and allowing him his Expences at the Charge of the Society: One of our Kings, said my Friend, carried his Royal Inclination a little too far, and