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every day more gloomy, sullen, and desperate: and that unless when his spirits are raised by intemperance, his countenance is seldom brightened by a smile. Unhappy in himself, he looks with discontent on everything around him; and the only satisfaction he was ever known since his bankruptcy to express, has been called forth, not by the happiness, but by the misery' of his fellow-creatures. It is difficult to conceive a stronger proof of a mind given up to the inward tortures of guilt; and I do not know if the most ingenious of his enemies could invent a punishment more dreadful than that which, in the use of his ill-gotten riches, he daily suffers. What a contrast does this unhappy man's situation form to that of his old neighbour, the Honest Farmer! and how strongly does it point out to us the truth of a maxim, which is oftener quoted than reduced to practice, that
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY.
THE DISHONEST FARMER.
"There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." Isle of Man, Nov. 1st, 1809.
You may think it strange, that one for whom you have expressed so just a contempt, should present himself voluntarily to your notice; and your surprise will not be lessened when I inform you, that my motive is a desire to do good: but the full confession I am now going to make will, I trust, convince you, that I am sincere. My intention is to give you a short account of the most interesting particulars of my life, and to leave you to make what use of it you please. If it should appear likely to answer the benevolent purpose you have in view in your publications, by joining instruction with amusement, you are heartily welcome to make it public. I owe this reparation to society, however painful it may be to my feelings.
I was born on the estate of Seaton, in the parish of, in the West of Scotland, of
honest and industrious parents. That they were honest and industrious, is all that truth allows me to say in their praise; for they had failings which I must not conceal, as the discovery of them may be a useful warning to others. But I will not attempt to describe their characters. You shall have an opportunity of judging for yourselves as I go on.
I know very little of the first four years of my life. I only remember to have heard my mother say, that I was always a clever cunning little rogue, and that she and my father used to have many a hearty laugh at my little childish tricks. I must not omit to mention one incident that took place when I was about five years of age, which I have often heard my father repeat as a proof of my uncommon cleverness and sagacity. I had a little companion of my own age. It was John Johnston, the very person whom you have so justly celebrated under the title of the Honest Farmer. His father and mine were next door neighbours, and we were frequently permitted to run about and play together. It happened one day, when 1 was left for a short time in the house by myself, that I broke a cup and saucer which had been carelessly left within my reach. I was afraid that my mother would be angry with me
for this accidental trespass, and to free myself from the blame, I fell upon the following expe dient. I observed my little friend John playing before the door, and having called him in, I gave him the broken pieces of the ware to amuse himself with. As soon as I saw him sufficiently occupied in endeavouring to put them together, I ran out in search of my mother, and having found her, told her, with the most barefaced impudence, that little John had broken her cup and saucer. This information made my mother hasten home, and when she found John employed in the way I have mentioned, she never doubted that he was the culprit, notwithstanding his assertions to the contrary; and punishing him severely, sent him home in tears. But the matter did not rest here. John was known to be a boy whose word could be trusted, for he had never uttered a lie in his life, and the simple story he told to nis father caused the good man to inquire into the business, and by cross-questioning me, he came to discover the truth. Such an instance of treachery and cunning, on my part, ought to have been punished with the utmost rigour; but alas! my parents, only considering it as a proof of superior talents, took every opportunity of commending me for it, even when I was
present. Well do I remember with what pride I used to listen, whilst my father told this story to his friends, and patting me on the cheek, ended by saying, “Thy father can give thee no fortune, David, but thou hast wit to make one for thyself." Such ill-judged marks of approbation as this, determined the bent of my future character. How could my father be so blind as not to see in such actions the proof of a wicked heart, and the presage of a future villain? How could he be so thoughtless as to encourage dispositions which had so evident a tendency to lead me to the gallows? Let all parents beware lest they fall into a similar error. If they do not take this advice, they may have to answer for it, both in this world and the world to come!
At the age of seven I was sent to school, my father having determined to make a scholar of me. "For it would be too bad," he said, "to let a boy of such quick parts trudge all his life at the tail of a plough." I soon understood that my education was not to be confined to the common branches of reading, writing, and arithmetic. It was my father's ambition to raise me above my station, and to give me such opportunities of improvement, as might do justice to the natural powers of my mind, extraordinary