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LIFE AND MANNERS.
I was born in a situation the most favorable to happiness of any, perhaps, which can exist; of parents neither too high nor too low; not very rich, which is too likely to be a snare; not poor, which is oftentimes a greater. I might spend many pages, like the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, in telling over the bead-roll of all the advantages which belonged to my situation, or in making my separate acknowledgment to the several persons from whom I drew the means of improving these advantages, so far as I did improve them. And, in some instances, it would cost me a dissertation to prove that the accidents of my position in life, which I regard as advantages, really were such in a philosophic sense. Let the reader feel no alarm. Such a dissertation, and such a rehearsal, would be more painful to myself than they could be wearisome to him. For these things change their aspects according to the station from which they happen to be surveyed; in prospect they are simply great blessings to be enjoyed; in retrospect, great pledges to be redeemed.
Viewed in front, they form a golden dowery of hope; viewed in the rear, a burthen of responsibility from which an apprehensive conscience will have reason too often to shrink in sadness.
My father was a plain and unpretending man, who began life with what is considered in England (or was considered) a small fortune, viz., six thousand pounds. I once heard a young banker in Liverpool, with the general assent of those who heard him, fix upon that identical sum of six thousand pounds as exemplifying, for the standard of English life, the absolute ideal of a dangerous inheritance; just too little, as he said, to promise comfort or real independence, and yet large. enough to operate as a temptation to indolence. Six thousand pounds, therefore, he considered in the light of a snare to a young man, and almost as a malicious bequest. On the other hand, Ludlow, the regicide, who, as the son of an English baronet, and as ex-commanderin-chief of the Parliament cavalry, &c., knew well what belonged to elegant and luxurious life, records it as his opinion of an Englishman who had sheltered him from state blood-hounds, that in possessing an annual revenue of £100, he enjoyed all the solid comforts of this life, neither himself rapacious of his neighbor's goods, nor rich enough in his own person to offer a mark to the rapacity of others. This was in 1660, when the expenses of living in England were not so widely removed, æquatis æquandis, from the common average of this day; both scales being far below that of the long war-period which followed the French Revolution.
What in one man, however, is wise moderation, may happen in another, differently circumstanced, to be positive injustice, or sordid inaptitude to aspire. At, or about, his 26th year, my father married; and it is probable that