I shou'd not myself have thought [Cato] worth so much notice as I have here taken of him; but that the Men are weak enough in general, to suffer their sense to be led away captive, by such half-thinking retailers of sentences. Among whom, This in particular, was he worth the pains, might be easily proved to have been often grossly in the wrong in other matters as well as in the present case; and therefore, when he happens to be in the right, the merit of it is more to be imputed to blind chance than to his wisdom: Since the greatest fools, when active, may blunder into the right sometimes: And great talkers among many absurdities, must here and there drop a good saying, when they least design it. Of this stamp, are the generality of evidence brought against us. Men avers'd to the labour of thinking; who found reason a drudgery (...); who have gain'd all their reputation by a pretty gimness of expressions, which wou'd no more bear examination than their heads, their hearts, or their faces; and who (to mimic this sage) wou'd rather see common-sense in confusion, than a word misplaced in one of their sentences. Yet these are sages among the Men, and their sentences are so many divine oracles; whereas perhaps, had we lived in their own times, to have heard the many more foolish things they said than sensible ones, we shou'd have found them as oafish as the dupes who revere them. And tho' perhaps we might have been more surprized to hear such dotards talk sometimes rationally, than we now are, to read their sayings; we shou'd have had reason still to think them more fit to extort our admiration than deserve it. Care has been taken to hand down to us the best of their sentences, many of which nevertheless are weak enough: But had the same care been taken to register all their absurdities, how great a share of their present applause wou'd they have lost!

~ Lady Sophia Fermor