The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

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Trade and Commerce might doubtless be still varied a thousand Ways, out of which would arise such Branches as have not yet been touched.  The famous Doily is still fresh in every ones Memory, who raised a Fortune by finding out Materials for such Stuffs as might at once be cheap and genteel.  I have heard it affirmed, that had not he discovered this frugal Method of gratifying our Pride, we should hardly have been [able[1]] to carry on the last War.

I regard Trade not only as highly advantageous to the Commonwealth in general; but as the most natural and likely Method of making a Man’s Fortune, having observed, since my being a Spectator in the World, greater Estates got about Change, than at Whitehall or at St. James’s.  I believe I may also add, that the first Acquisitions are generally attended with more Satisfaction, and as good a Conscience.

I must not however close this Essay, without observing that what has been said is only intended for Persons in the common ways of Thriving, and is not designed for those Men who from low Beginnings push themselves up to the Top of States, and the most considerable Figures in Life.  My Maxim of Saving is not designed for such as these, since nothing is more usual than for Thrift to disappoint the Ends of Ambition; it being almost impossible that the Mind should [be [2]] intent upon Trifles, while it is at the same time forming some great Design.

I may therefore compare these Men to a great Poet, who, as Longinus says, while he is full of the most magnificent Ideas, is not always at leisure to mind the little Beauties and Niceties of his Art.

I would however have all my Readers take great care how they mistake themselves for uncommon Genius’s, and Men above Rule, since it is very easy for them to be deceived in this Particular.


[Footnote 1:  In his Auction of Philosophers.]

[Footnote 2:  [able so well]]

[Footnote 3:  [descend to and be]]

* * * * *

No. 284.  Friday, January 25, 1712.  Steele.

  [Posthabui tamen illorum mea seria Ludo.

  Virg. [1]]

An unaffected Behaviour is without question a very great Charm; but under the Notion of being unconstrained and disengaged, People take upon them to be unconcerned in any Duty of Life.  A general Negligence is what they assume upon all Occasions, and set up for an Aversion to all manner of Business and Attention. I am the carelessest Creature in the World, I have certainly the worst Memory of any Man living, are frequent Expressions in the Mouth of a Pretender of this sort.  It is a professed Maxim with these People never to think; there is something so solemn in Reflexion, they, forsooth, can never give themselves Time for

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The Spectator, Volume 2. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.