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PHYSICIAN, heal thyself! Who art thou that advisest another? Leave us to ourselves, Mr. Monitor! &c. These, and many other exclamations equally ingenious and encouraging, are to be expected by any lucky wight, who shall have the hardiesse now, in the nineteenth century, to take upon himself the office of Adviser. Indeed, advice is seldom or never received with complacency, or listened to with satisfaction.
In youth, we hear it with impatience; in manhood, we affect to treat it with contempt; and in advanced life, we consider it as an insult. Whatever may be that principle which prompts us to reject and to spurn the counsel of others, I hold it to be the mark of an imbecile mind, and a vitiated education. I am told of an error, and kick against the authority, or am deaf to the kindness of him who admonishes me for my advantage: what is this but adding the crime of ingratitude to folly and to stupidity? I am reproved for a fault, or convinced that I have done wrong: I bow down to the rebuke with thankfulness, and guard against the commission of a similar misdemeanor; do I not by this conduct shew to the world that I am wiser than I was before? Though all this be true, and we all know that it requires a range of intellect, and a vigour of mind to dare to profit by advice; yet what are your pretensions to superior wisdom? what are your claims to transcendant sapience, that you should exalt yourself into the Censor's chair, and from that eminence condescend to instruct and to illumine
your fellow creatures, who grovel in darkness, and blunder on in ignorance? I have no pretensions, much less any claims, to superior wisdom; I merely wish to offer to the youth of Great Britain the observations, which a long and a chequered pilgrimage have enabled me to make on the various departments, and different situations of life, with which I have been conversant, and to enable others to profit by my experience; that my sorrows and my misfortunes may serve as a beacon to light, and a buoy to warn them, lest, in the voyage of life, their bark be shattered against the rocks, or swallowed up in the tempest. And, lest the garrulity of an insignificant and sinking old man should not be important enough to arrest the attention of the thoughtless and the gay, of the supercilious and the indolent, of the lofty and the learned, can I hope for a hearing when I inform them, that I have in my possession what I deem a very valuable treasure, a manuscript left me, as a legacy, by a much loved and lamented friend, alas, cut off at an early period! with permission to print it, if I think proper?
It contains many interesting adventures which befel him in a short but troublesome journey through this vale of tears, interspersed with many bold and animated observations on subjects in which the whole human race is concerned; because, on their being well or ill understood and prosecuted, their future felicity or misery hinges. From these, as to their magnitude, formidable bundles of paper, I shall, from time to time, extract such parts as appear to me most deserving of public notice and approbation. But why call your paper the Adviser? Lord! what a title! Dear me, how very odd! quite preposterous, upon my word! To be sure, madam, the title is, as one may say, only a title; and if I could prevail on any one to furnish me with a better, I should consider it as an obligation; but, to say truth, I have long considered all titles as merely trifles, and therefore am not very anxious about the baptismal name of my brat, the child of my old age. If I can innocently beguile a tedious hour; if I can dry one tear, or soothe one pang, I shall resign life without a sigh, and reflect with complacency, that