Nonfiction > Harvard Classics > William Penn > Fruits of Solitude
William Penn. (1644–1718).  Fruits of Solitude.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Part II
Of Refining upon Other Men’s Actions or Interests
271. This seems to be the Master-Piece of our Politicians; But no Body shoots more at Random, than those Refiners.  1
  272. A perfect Lottery, and meer Hap-Hazard. Since the true Spring of the Actions of Men is as Invisible as their Hearts; and so are their Thoughts too of their several Interests.  2
  273. He that judges of other Men by himself, does not always hit the Mark, because all Men have not the same Capacity, nor Passions in Interest.  3
  274. If an able Man refines upon the Proceedings of an ordinary Capacity, according to his own, he must ever miss it: But much more the ordinary Man, when he shall pretend to speculate the Motives to the able Man’s Actions: For the Able Man deceives himself by making t’other wiser than he is in the Reason of his Conduct; and the ordinary Man makes himself so, in presuming to judge of the Reasons of the Abler Man’s Actions.  4
  275. ’T is in short a Wood, a Maze, and of nothing are we more uncertain, nor in anything do we oftener befool ourselves.  5
  276. The Mischiefs are many that follow this Humor, and dangerous: For Men Misguide themselves, act upon false Measures, and meet frequently with mischievous Disappointments.  6
  277. It excludes all Confidence in Commerce; allows of no such Thing as a Principle in Practice; supposes every Man to act upon other Reasons than what appears, and that there is no such Thing as a Straightness or Sincerity among Mankind: A Trick instead of Truth.  7
  278. Neither, allowing Nature or Religion; but some Worldly Fetch or Advantage: The true, the hidden Motive to all Men to act or do.  8
  279. ’T is hard to express its Uncharitableness, as well as Uncertainty; and has more of Vanity than Benefit in it.  9
  280. This Foolish Quality gives a large Field, but let what I have said serve for this Time.  10


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