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10, 1752, she thus records a meeting with him, and the result of an argument maintained by her against him :
“We had a visit whilst at Northend from your friend Mr. Johnson, and poor Mrs. Williams. I was charmed with his behavior to her, which was like that of a fond father to his daughter. She seemed much pleased with her visit; showed very good sense, with a great deal of modesty and humility; and so much patience and cheerfulness under her misfortune, that it doubled my concern for her. Mr. Johnson was very communicative and entertaining, and did me the honor to address most of his discourse to me. I had the assurance to dispute with him on the subject of human malignity, and wondered to hear a man who by his actions shows so much benevolence, maintain that the human heart is naturally malevolent, and that all the benevolence we see in the few who are good is acquired by reason and religion. You may believe I entirely disagreed with him, being, as you know, fully persuaded that benevolence, or the love of our fellow-creatures, is as much a part of our nature as self-love; and that it cannot be suppressed, or extinguished, without great violence from the force of other passions. I told him I suspected him of these bad notions from some of his Ramblers, and had accused him to you; but that you persuaded me I had mistaken his sense. To which he answered, that, if he had betrayed such sentiments in the Ramblers, it was not with design; for that he believed the doctrine of human malevolence, though a true one, is not an useful one, and ought not to be published to the world. Is there any truth that would not be useful, or that should not be known?”2
In 1753, Miss Mulso sent the story of “Fidelia'' to the "Adventurer," which forms Nos. 77, 78, and 79 of that work, and on the publication of Mrs. Carter's Epictetus, in 1758, an ode by Miss Mulso was prefixed. These, together with an ode to Peace, were among her earliest productions which she thought worthy of the press. Towards the close of the year 1760, she was united to the man of her choice, with every prospect of long.continued bappiness; but, alas, this union was of short duration! Within ten months, Mr. Chapone was seized with a violent fever, which terminated fatally in September 1761. The severity of this blow was so keenly felt by her, that her life was for some time in danger ; but at length the assiduity of her friends and the consolations of religion had their due weight, and she gradually recovered her spirits and her peace of mind.
In 1773, Mrs. Chapone published her “ Letters on the Improvement of
· For an account of Mrs. Anna Williams, see Boswell's Johnson, Croker's ed. 1 vol. 8vo. p. 7.1.
Chapone's Works, vol. i. pp. 72, 73, 74.
the Mind," addressed to her favorite niece, the eldest daughter of the Rev. John Mulso. The work was most favorably received, and soon became extensively circulated. It is, indeed, “one of the best books that can be put into the hands of female youth; the style is easy and pure, the advice practical and sound, and the whole uniformly tends to promote the purest principles of morality and religion.” In 1775, she published her " Miscellanies in Prose and Verse,” in one volume. Of the poems of this volume, which were, for the most part, the productions of her early life, the best is the "Ode to Solitude.” This was the last work she published. From this time she was called almost every year to mourn the loss of some near and dear friend. Towards the close of the century her faculties began to decay, and she died at Hadley, on the 25th of December, 1801.
ODE TO SOLITUDE.
Thou gentle nurse of pleasing woe,
With eager baste I fly;
Nor listening ear be nigh!
My pensive steps I bend;
Do thou my walk attend !
And ease my lab'ring breast;
No longer be supprest.
O let me find her here!
To all it holds most dear.
Of Solitude pervert!
And calm Reflection's part?
O Wisdom! from the sea-beat shore,
Thy lov'd Eliza' strays,
Thy heaven-protected ways!
Contentment's hower in view !
Shall there my steps piirsue.
Nor lov'd in sad despair;
And all my tenderest care.
From selfish passion pure;
Can never be secure.
ON THE GOVERNMENT OF THE TEMPER.
The next great point of importance to your future happiness is what your parents have, doubtless, been continually attentive to from your infancy, as it is impossible to undertake it too earlyI mean the due Regulation of your Temper. Though you are in great measure indebted to their forming hands for whatever is good in it, you are sensible, no doubt, as every human creature is, of propensities to some infirmity of temper, which it must now be your own care to correct and to subdue: otherwise, the pains that have hitherto been taken with you may all become fruitless; and, when you are your own mistress, you may relapse into those faults which were originally in your nature, and which will require to be diligently watched and kept under, through the whole course of your
life. If you
consider that the constant tenor of the gospel precepts is to promote love, peace, and good-will amongst men, you will not doubt that the cultivation of an amiable disposition is a great part of your religious duty; since nothing leads more directly to the breach of charity, and to the injury and molestation of our fellowcreatures, than the indulgence of an ill-temper. Do not, therefore, think lightly of the offences you may commit, for want of a due command over it, or suppose yourself responsible for them to your fellow-creatures only; but, be assured, you must give a strict account of them all to the Supreme Governor of the world, who has made this a great part of your appointed trial upon earth.
1 Eliza Carter.
A woman, bred up in a religious manner, placed above the reach of want, and out of the way of sordid or scandalous vices, can have but few temptations to the flagrant breach of the divine laws. It particularly concerns her, therefore, to understand them in their full import, and to consider how far she trespasses against them, by such actions as appear trivial when compared with murder, adultery, and theft, but which become of very great importance, by being frequently repeated, and occurring in the daily transactions of life.
The principal virtues or vices of a woman must be of a private and domestic kind. Within the circle of her own family and dependents lies her sphere of action—the scene of almost all those tasks and trials which must determine her character and her fate here and hereafter. Reflect, for a moment, how much the happiness of her husband, children, and servants, must depend on her temper, and you will see that the greatest good, or evil
, which she ever may have in her power to do, may arise from her correcting or indulging its infirmities.
Though I wish the principle of duty towards God to be your ruling motive in the exercise of every virtue, yet, as human nature stands in need of all possible helps, let us not forget how essential it is to present happiness, and to the enjoyment of this life, to cultivate such a temper as is likewise indispensably requisite to the attainment of higher felicity in the life to come. The greatest outward blessings cannot afford enjoyment to a mind ruffled and uneasy within itself. A fit of ill-humor will spoil the finest entertainment, and is as real a torment as the most painful disease. Another unavoidable consequence of ill-temper is the dislike and aversion of all who are witnesses to it, and, perhaps, the deep and lasting resentment of those who suffer from its effects. We all, from social or self-love, earnestly desire the esteem and affection of our fellow-creatures; and indeed our condition makes them so necessary to us that the wretch who has forfeited them must feel desolate and undone, deprived of all the best enjoyments and comforts the world can afford, and given up to his inward misery, unpitied and scorned. But this can never be the fate of a good
natured person : whatever faults he may have, they will generally
“all this is very true; but our tempers are not in our own power-we are made with different dispositions, and, if mine is not amiable, it is rather my unhappiness than my fault.” This is commonly said by those who will not take the trouble to correct themselves. Yet, be assured, it is a delusion, and will not avail in our justification before Him “who knoweth whereof we are made,” and of what we are capable. It is true, we are not all equally happy in our dispositions; but human virtue consists in cherishing and cultivating every good inclination, and in checking and subduing every propensity to evil. If you had been born with a bad temper, it might have been made a good one, at least with regard to its outward effects, by education, reason, and principle: and, though you are so happy as to have a good one while young, do not suppose it will always continue so, if
you neglect to maintain a proper command over it. Power, sickness, disappointments, or worldly cares, may corrupt and embitter the finest disposition, if they are not counteracted by reason and religion.
It is observed, that every temper is inclined, in some degree, either to passion, peevishness, or obstinacy. Many are so unfortunate as to be inclined to each of the three in turn: it is necessary therefore to watch the bent of our nature, and to apply the reme. dies proper for the infirmity to which we are most liable. With regard to the first, it is so injurious to society, and so odious in itself, especially in the female character, that one would think shame alone would be sufficient to preserve a young woman from giving way to it: for it is as unbecoming her character to be betrayed into ill-behavior by passion, as by intoxication, and she ought to be ashamed of the one as much as of the other. Gentleness, meekness, and patience are her peculiar distinctions, and an enraged woman is one of the most disgusting sights in nature.