Page:Samuel Johnson (1911).djvu/129

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of ignorance ; even this concession will not be of much use to direct our practice, unless it be determined who are those that are born to poverty. To entail irreversible poverty upon generation after generation, only because the ancestor happened to be poor, is in itself cruel, if not unjust, and is wholly contrary to the maxims of a commercial nation, which always suppose and promote a rotation of property, and offer every individual a chance of mending his condition by his diligence. Those who communicate literature to the son of a poor man, consider him as one not born to poverty, but to the necessity of deriving a better fortune from himself. In this attempt, as in others, many fail, and many succeed. Those that fail will feel their misery more acutely; but since poverty is now confessed to be such a calamity as cannot be borne without the opiate of in- sensibility, I hope the happiness of those, whom education enables to escape from it, may turn the balance against that exacerbation which the others suffer.

I am always afraid of determining on the side of envy or cruelty. The privileges of education may sometimes be improperly be- stowed, but I shall always fear to withhold them, lest I should be yielding to the sugges- tions of pride, while I persuade myself that I

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