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No. 355 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

The famous Monsieur Balzac, in a Letter to the Chancellor of France, [3] who had prevented the Publication of a Book against him, has the following Words, which are a likely Picture of the Greatness of Mind so visible in the Works of that Author. If it was a new thing, it may be I should not be displeased with the Suppression of the first Libel that should abuse me; but since there are enough of em to make a small Library, I am secretly pleased to see the number increased, and take delight in raising a heap of Stones that Envy has cast at me without doing me any harm.

The Author here alludes to those Monuments of the Eastern Nations, which were Mountains of Stones raised upon the dead Body by Travellers, that used to cast every one his Stone upon it as they passed by. It is certain that no Monument is so glorious as one which is thus raised by the Hands of Envy. For my Part, I admire an Author for such a Temper of Mind as enables him to bear an undeserved Reproach without Resentment, more than for all the Wit of any the finest Satirical Reply.

Thus far I thought necessary to explain my self in relation to those who have animadverted on this Paper, and to shew the Reasons why I have not thought fit to return them any formal Answer. I must further add, that the Work would have been of very little use to the Publick, had it been filled with personal Reflections and Debates; for which Reason I have never once turned out of my way to observe those little Cavils which have been made against it by Envy or Ignorance. The common Fry of Scriblers, who have no other way of being taken Notice of but by attacking what has gain’d some Reputation in the World, would have furnished me with Business enough, had they found me dispos’d to enter the Lists with them.

I shall conclude with the Fable of Boccalini’s Traveller, who was so pester’d with the Noise of Grasshoppers in his Ears, that he alighted from his Horse in great Wrath to kill them all. This, says the Author, was troubling himself to no manner of purpose: Had he pursued his Journey without taking notice of them, the troublesome Insects would have died of themselves in a very few Weeks, and he would have suffered nothing from them.


[Footnote 1:

[quenquam, Nulla venenata littera mista joco est.


[Footnote 2: Enchiridion, Cap. 48 and 64.]

[Footnote 3: Letters and Remains. Trans. by Sir. R. Baker (1655-8).]