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the force of prejudice betrayed into injustice, unfelt even in the present state.
The mind must be very callous indeed that is not wounded by the consciousness of having injured an innocent person by misrepresentations, even where no malice was intended. How much more so when conscious of having yielded to the impulse of groundless resentment, and of having been a prey to the rashness of credu%! —
You will find this beautifully illustrated in one of the eastern fables, where a man is represented as having "left his sleeping child to the care of his faithful dog. On returning home he rinds the cradle overturned, and the floor besmeared with blood, and, without waiting to examine, instantly kills the dog as the supposed murderer of his child. No sooner was the rash act committed, than lifting the cradle, he finds his child safe and well, and observes at the same time the mangled carcass of a serpent, which had been destroyed by the faithful animal, whose services he had, in the rashness of fury, requited with such deep ingratitude.
I could give you many instances of real and irremediable evils produced by acts of rash injustice. But even where the evils produced are of a less serious nature, they may deeply affect the happiness of our fellow creatures. It is therefore of infinite moment to acquire, in early life, such habits of justice and of truth, as may serve as a perpetual guard, not only against the more heinous breaches of their laws, but against those petty transgressions of them, which, though they do not alarm the conscience,
are are extremely injurious to the integrity of the moral character.
In order to this, you must accustom yourself to speak of the absent as if they were invisibly present; and to those who ,are (present, to speak in no other way than you are conscious you will speak of them in absence. Thus shall truth and justice become habits of your mind, so fixed and settled there in the precious interval that is yet between you and the world, that when you launch upon its dangerous sea, you may not make shipwreck of your conscience.
At present you are happily exempt from many of the temptations to dissimulation and injustice by which you will hereafter be assailed; but if the principles by which these temptations are to be resisted, are not now formed, what is to save
you you from becoming their prey? Instead then of thinking how you will act in future untried scenes, be careful to regulate your conduct in the present; and instead of thinking yourself virtuous, because you have not been guilty of actions to which you had no temptation, make frequent and anxious inquiry of your own heart, how far you have, in thought, or word, or deed, offended against those principles of justice and integrity in which you have been amply instructed.
That the blessing of Him who is the God of truth may rest upon you, is the earnest prayer of your truly affectionate friend.
/^N casting my eye over my last letter, I am a little apprehensive that my dearest Lady Elizabeth may consider the principles it inculcates as somewhat too rigidly austere. "It "is impossible," you will say, " to pay "that strict regard to truth which "I have enforced, without offending "against politeness. We cannot "shock people who are disagreeable