« AnteriorContinuar »
made it synonymous even with probity. They es- turning them to some more durable indications of teemed those virtues so inseparable, that the known joy, more glorious for him, and more advantageous expression of Vir Frugi signified, at one and the to his people. same til..e, a sober and managing man, an honest After such instances of political frugality, can man, and a man of substance.
we then continue to blame the Dutch ambassador The Scriptures, in a thousand places, praise at a certain court, who, receiving at his departure economy; and it is every where distinguished from the portrait of the king, enriched with diamonds, avarice. But in spite of all its sacred dictates, a asked what this fine thing might be worth? Being taste for vain pleasures and foolish expense is the told that it might amount to about two thousand ruling passion of the present times. Passion, did pounds, “And why," cries he, "can not his majesI call it? rather the madness which at once possesses ty keep the picture and give the money?” The the great and the little, the rich and the poor : even simplicity may be ridiculed at first; but when we some are so intent upon acquiring the superfluities come to examine it more closely, men of sense will of life that they sacrifice its necessaries in this fool- at once confess that he had reason in what he said, ish pursuit.
and that a purse of two thousand guineas is much To attempt the entire abolition of luxury, as it more serviceable than a picture. would be impossible, so it is not my intent. The Should we follow the same method of state frugenerality of mankind are too weak, too much gality in other respects, what numberless savings slaves to custom and opinion, to resist the torrent might not be the result! How many possibilities of bad example. But if it be impossible to convert of saving in the administration of justice, which the multitude, those who have received a more ex. now burdens the subject, and enriches some memtended education, who are enlightened and judi- bere of society, who are useful only from its cor cious, may find some hints on this subject useful. ruption ! They may see some abuses, the suppression of It were to be wished, that they who govern king. which would by no means endanger public liberty ; Joms would imitate artisans. When at London a they may be directed to the abolition of some un- new stuff has been invented, it is immediately necessary expenses, which have no tendency to counterfeited in France. How happy were it for promote happiness or virtue, and which might be society, if a first minister would be equally solicitdirected to better purposes. Our fire-works, ourous to transplant the useful laws of other countries public feasts and entertainments, our entries of am- into his own. We are arrived at a perfect imita. bassadors, etc.; what mummery all this! what tion of porcelain ; let us endeavour to imitate the childish pageants! what millions are sacrificed in good to society that our neighbours are found to paying tribute to custom! what an unnecessary practise, and let our neighbours also imitate those charge at times when we are pressed with real parts of duty in which we excel. want, which can not be satisfied without burdening There are some men, who in their garden atthe poor !
tempt to raise those fruits which nature has adaptWere such suppressed entirely, not a single ed only to the sultry climates beneath the line. We creature in the state would have the least cause to have at our very doors a thousand laws and cusmourn their suppression, and many might be eased toms infinitely useful: these are the fruits we should of a load they now feel lying heavily upon them. endeavour to transplant; these the exotics that If this were put in practice, it would agree with the would speedily become naturalized tothe soil. They advice of a sensible writer of Sweden, who, in the might grow in every climate, and benefit every posGazette de France, 1753, thus expressed himself sessor. on that sulject. “It were sincerely to be wished," The best and the most useful laws I have ever says he, "that the custom were established amongst seen, are generally practised in Holland. When us, that in all events which cause a public joy, we two men are determined to go to law with each made our exultations conspicuous only by acts use other, they are first obliged to go before the reconful to society. We should then quickly see many ciling judges, called the peace-makers. If the useful monuments of our reason, which would parties come attended with an advocate, or a somuch better perpetuate the memory of things worthy licitor, they are obliged to retire, as we take fuel of being transmitted to posterity, and would be from the fire we are desirous of extinguishing. much more glorious to humanity, than all those The peace-makers then begin advising the partumultuous preparations of feasts, entertainments, ties, by assuring them, that it is the height of folly and other rejoicings used upon such occasions." to waste their substance, and make themselves
The same proposal was long before confirmed by mutually miserable, by having recourse to the tria uninese einperor, who lived in the last century, bunals of justice; follow but our direction, and we who, upou an vcasion of extraordinary joy, forhade will accommodate mattors without any expense to his subjec:- to make the usual illuminations, either either. If the rage of debate is !oo strong upon with a design of sparing their substance, or of either party, they are remitted back for another
day, in order that time may soften their tempers, and excess, and, either in a religious or political and produce a reconciliation. They are thus sent light, it would be our highest interest to have the tor twice or thrice: if their folly happens to be in- greatest part of them suppressed. They should be curable, they are permitted to go to law, and as put under laws of not continuing open beyond a we give up to amputation such members as can certain hour, and harbouring only proper persons. not be cured by art, justice is permitted to take its These rules, it may be said, will diminish the ne
cessary taxes; but this is false reasoning, since what It is unnecessary to make here long declamations, was consumed in debauchery abroad, would, if or calculate what society would save; were this law such a regulation took place, be more justly, and adopted. I am sensible, that the man who advises perhaps more equitably for the workman's family, any reformation, only serves to make himself ridi- spent at home; and this cheaper to them, and withculous What! mankind will be apt to say, adopt out loss of time. On the other hand, our alehouses the customs of countries that have not so much real being ever open, interrupt business; the workman liberty as our own! our present customs, what are is never certain who frequents them, nor can tho they to any man? we are very happy under them: master be sure of having what was begun, finished this must be a very pleasant fellow, who attempts at the convenient time. to make us happier than we already are! Does he A habit of frugality among the lower orders of not know that abuses are the patrimony of a great mankind, is much more beneficial to society than part of the nation? Why deprive us of a malady the unreflecting might imagine. The pawnbroker, by which such numbers find their account? This, the attorney, and other pests of society, might, by I must own, is an argrment to which I have no- proper management, be turned into serviceable thing to reply.
members; and, were their trades abolished, it is What numberless savings might there not be possible the same avarice that conducts the one, or made in both arts and commerce, particularly in the same chicanery that characterizes the other, the liberty of exercising trade, without the neces- might, by proper regulations, be converted into sary prerequisites of freedom! Such useless ob- frugality and commendable prudence. structions have crept into every state, from a spirit But some, who have made the eulogium of lux. of monopoly, a narrow seltish spirit of gain, with- ury, have represented it as the natural consequence out the least attention to general society. Such a of every country that is become rich. Did we not clog upon industry frequently drives the poor from employ our extraordinary wealth in superfluities, labour, and reduces them by degrees to a state of say they, what other means would there be to emhopeless indigence. We have already a more than ploy it in? To which it may be answered, if frusufficient repugnance to labour; we should by no gality were established in the state, if our expenses means increase the obstacles, or make excuses in a were laid out rather in the necessaries than the state for idleness. Such faults have ever crept superfluities of life, there might be fewer wants, into a state, under wrong or needy administra- and even fewer pleasures, but infinitely more haptions.
piness. The rich and the great would be better Exclusive of the masters, there are numberless able to satisfy their creditors; they would be better faulty expenses among the workmen; clubs, garn- able to marry their children, and, instead of one ishes, freedoms, and such like impositions, which marriage at present, there might be two, if such are not too minute even for law to take notice of, regulations took place. and which should be abolished without mercy, The imaginary calls of vanity, which in reality since they are ever the inlets to excess and idle contribute nothing to our real felicity, would not ness, and are the parent of all those outrages which then be attended to, while the real calls of naturo naturally fall upon the more useful part of society. might be always and universally supplied. The In the towns and countries I have seen, I never difference of employment in the subject is what, in saw a city or village yet, whose miseries were not reality, produces the good of society. If the subin proportion to the number of its public-houses. ject be engaged in providing only the luxuries, the In Rotterdam, you may go through eight or ten necessaries must be deficient in proportion. If streets without finding a public-house. In Ant- neglecting the produce of our own country, our werp, alınost every second house seems an ale- minds are set upon the productions of another, we house. In the one city, all wears the appearance increase our wants, but not our means; and every of happiness and warm affluence; in the other, the new imported delicacy for our tables, or ornament young fellows walk about the streets in shabby in our equipage, is a tax upon the poor. finery, their fathers sit at the door darning or knit- The true interest of every government is to cul ting stockings, while their ports are filled with tivate the necessaries, by which is always meant dunghills.
every happiness our own country can produce ; Alehouses are ever an occasion of debauchery and suppress all the luxuries, by which is mean
on the other hand, every happiness imported from abroad. Commerce has therefore its bounds; and
A REVERIE. every new import, instead of receiving encouragement, should be first examined whether it be con
SCARCELY a day passes in which we do not hear ducive to the interest of society.
compliments paid to Dryden, Pope, and other Among the many publications with which the writers of the last age, while not a mouth comes press is every day burdened, I have often wondered forward that is not loaded with invectives against why we never had, as in other countries, an
the writers of this. Strange, that our critics should Economical Journal, which might at once direct to be fond of giving their favours to those who are all the useful discoveries in other countries, and insensible of the obligation, and their dislike to spread those of our own. As other journals serve
those, who, of all mankind, are most apt to retaliate to amuse the learned, or, what is more often the the injury. case, to make them quarrel, while they only serve
Even though our present writers had not equal to give us the history of the mischievous world, for merit with their predecessors, it would be politie to so i call our warriors; or the idle world, for so may them would be more agreeable, in proportion as
use them with ceremony. Every compliment paio the learned be called; they never trouble their heads about the most useful part of mankind, our they least deserve it. Tell a lady with a handpeasants and our artisans ;-were such a work car
some face that she is pretty, she only thinks it her ried into execution, with proper management, and due; it is what she has heard a thousand times bejust direction, it might serve as a repository for fore from others, and disregards the compliment. every useful improvement, and increase that know. but assure a lady, the cut of whose visage is some ledge which learning often serves to confound.
thing more plain, that she looks killing to-day, she Sweden seems the only country where the sci- instantly bridles up, and feels the force of the wellence of economy seems to have fixed its empire. which we think are deserved, we accept only as
timed flattery the whole day after. Compliments In other countries, it is cultivated only by a few admirers, or by societies which have not received debts, with indifference; but those which consufficient sanction to become completely useful;
science informs us we do not merit, we receive witb but here there is founded a royal academy destined the same gratitude that we do favours given away to this purpose only, composed of the most learned
Our gentlemen, however, who preside at the disand powerful members of the state; an academy
tribution of literary fame, seem resolved to part with which declines every thing which only terminates praise neither from motivés of justice nor generosiin amusement, erudition, or curiosity; and admits ty: one would think, when they take pen in hand, only of observations tending to illustrate husbandry, their seals to the packet which consigns every new
that it was only to blot reputations, and to put agriculture, and every real physical improvement. born effort to oblivion. In this country nothing is left to private rapacity; but every improvement is immediately diffused,
Yet, notwithstanding the republic of letters and its inventor immediately recompensed by the hangs at present so feebly together; though those state. Happy were it so in other countries; by friendships which once promoted literary fame seem this means, every impostor would be prevented from now to be discontinued; though every writer who ruining or deceiving the public with pretended dis- now draws the quill seems to aim at profit
, as well coveries or nostrums, and every real inventor would as applause ; many among them are probably laving not, by this means, suffer the inconveniencies of in stores for immortality, and are provided with a suspicion.
sufficient stock of reputation to last the whole In short, the economy equally unknown to the journey. prodigal and avaricious, seems to be a just mean
As I was indulging these reflections, in order to between both extremes; and to a transgression of eke out the present page, I could not avoid purthis at present decried virtue it is that we are to at- suing the metaphor of going a journey in my imatribute a great part of the evils which infest society. gination, and formed the following Reverie
, too A taste for superfuity, amusement, and pleasure
, wild for allegory and too regular for a dream. bring effeminacy, igleness, and expense in their
I fancied myself placed in the yard of a large train. But a thirst of riches is always proportion- inn, in which there were an infinite number of ed to our debauchery, and the greatest prodigal is wagons and stage-coaches, attended by fellows who too frequently found to be the greatest miser; so
either invited the company to take their places, or that the vices which seem the most opposite
, are were busied in packing their baggage. Each vehicle frequently found to produce each other; and to
had its inscription, showing the place of its destiavoid both, it is only necessary to be frugal.
nation. On one I could read, The pleasure stage
coach; on another, The wagon of industry; on a l'irlus et medium vitiorum et utrinque reductum.—Hor. third, The vanity whim; and on a fourth, The
kandau of riches. I had some inclination to step by your bulk you seem loaded for a West India in o each of these, one after another; but I know voyage. You are big enough with all your papers not by what means I passed them by, and at last to crack twenty stage-coaches. Excuse me, infixed my eye upon a small carriage, Berlin fashion, deed, sir, for you must not enter.” Our figure now which seemed the most convenient vehicle at a dis- began to expostulate: he assured the coachman, tance in the world; and upon my nearer approach that though his baggage seemed so bulky, it was found it to be The fame machine,
perfectly light, and that he would be contented I instantly made up to the coachman, whom I with the smallest corner of room. But Jehu was found to be an affable and seemingly good-natured inflexible
, and the carrier of the Inspectors was fellow. He informed me, that he had but a few sent to dance back again with all his papers flutdays ago returned from the Temple of Fame, to tering in the wind. We expected to have no more which he had been carrying Addison, Swift, Pope, trouble from this quarter, when in a few minutes Steele, Congreve, and Colley Cibber. That they the same figure changed his appearance, like har. made but indifferent company by the way, that he lequin upon the stage, and with the same confionce or twice was going to empty his berlin of the dence again made his approaches, dressed in lace, whole cargo: however, says he, I got them all and carrying nothing but a nosegay. Upon comsafe home, with no other damage than a black eye, ing nearer, he thrust the nosegay to the couchwhich Colley gave Mr. Pope, and am now return-man's nose, grasped the brass, and seemed now reed for another coachful. "If that be all, friend," solved to enter by violence. I found the struggle said I, "and if you are in want of company, I'll soon begin to grow hot, and the coachman, who make one with all my heart. Open the door; I was a little old, unable to continue the contest ; so, hope the machine rides easy.” “Oh, for that, sir, in order to ingratiate myself, I stepped in to his extremely easy.” But still keeping the door shut, assistance, and our united efforts sent our literary and measuring me with his eye, “ Pray, sir, have Proteus, though worsted, unconquered still, clear you no luggage? You seem to be a good-natured off
, dancing a rigadoon, and smelling to his own sort of a gentleman; but I don't find you have got nosegay. any luggage, and I never permit any to travel with The person who after bio appeared as candidate me but such as have something valuable to pay for for a place in the stage, came up with an air not quite coach-hire.” Examining my pockets, I own I was so confident, but somewhat however theatrical ; not a little disconcerted at this unexpected rebuff; and, instead of entering, made the coachman a very but considering that I carried a number of the Bee low bow, which the other returned and desired to under my arm, I was resolved to open it in his see his baggage ; upon which he instantly produced eyes, and dazzle him with the splendour of the some farces, a tragedy, and other miscellany propage. He read the title and contents, however, ductions. The coachman, casting his eye upon without any emotion, and assured me he had the cargo, assured him at present he could not posnever heard of it before. "In short, friend," said sibly have a place, but hoped in time he might ashe, now losing all his former respect, “ you must pire to one, as he seemed to have read in the book not come in: I expect better passengers; but as of nature, without a careful perusal of which, none you seem a harmless creature, perhaps, if there be ever found entrace at the Temple of Fame. rooin left, I may let you ride a while for charity.” " What!" replied the disappointed poet,
I now took my stand by the coachman at the my tragedy, in which I have vindicated the cause door; and since I could not command a seat, was of liberty and virtue—"- -"Follow nature," reresolved to be as useful as possible, and earn by my turned the other, "and never expect to find lasting assiduity what I could not by my merit. fame by topics which only please from their popu.
The next that presented for a place was a mostlarity. Had you been first in the cause of freedom whimsical figure indeed. He was hung round or praised in virtue more than an empty name, it with papers of his own composing, not unlike those is possible you might have gained admittance ; who sing ballads in the streets, and came dancing but at present I beg sir, you will stand aside for up to the door with all the confidence of instant another gentleman whom I see approaching." admittance. The volubility of his motion and ad- This was a very grave personage, whom at some dress prevented my being able to read more of his distance I took for one of the most reserved, and cargo than the word Inspector, which was written even disagrecable figures I had seen; but as he in great letters at the top of some of the papers. He approached, his appearance improved, and when I opened the coach-dour himself without any cere could distinguish him thoroughly, I perceived that, inony, and was just slipping in, when the coach- in spite of the severity of his brow, he had one of man, with as little ceremony, pulled him back. Our the most good-natured countenances that could be figure seemed perfectly angry at this repulse, and imagined. Upon coming to open the stage door, demanded gentleman's satisfaction. “ Lord, sir !" he lifted a parcel of folios into the seat before him, replied the coachman, "instead of proper luggage, but our inquisitorial coachr.an at once shoved them
out again. "What! not take in my Dictionary?", might be the conversation that passed upon thisesexclaimed the other in a rage. "Be patient, sir," straordinary occasion; when, instead of agreeable replied the coachman, “I have drove a coach, man or entertaining dialogue, I found them grumbling and boy, these two thousand years; but I do not at each other, and each seemed discontented with remember to have carried above one dictionary his companions. Strange! thought I to myself, during the whole time. That little book which I that they who are thus born to enlighten the world, perceive peeping from one of your pockets, may should still preserve the narrow prejudices of child. I presume to ask what it contains ?" "A mere hood, and, by disagreeing, make even the highest trifle,” replied the author ; "it is called The Ram-merit ridiculous. Were the learned and the wise bler.” “The Rambler!" says the coachman, "I to unite against the dances of society, instead of beg, sir, you will take your place; I have heard our sometimes siding into opposite parties with them, ladies in the court of A pollo frequently mention they might throw a lustre upon each other's repuit with rapture: and Clio, who happens to be a tation, and teach every rank of subordination me little grave, has been heard to prefer it to the Spec- rit
, if not to admire, at least not to avow dislike. tator; though others have observed, that the re- In the midst of these reflections, I perceived the flections, by being refined, sometimes become mi- coachman, unmindful of me, had now mounted nute."
the box. Several were approaching to be taken in, This grave gentleman was scarcely seated, when whose pretensions, I was sensible, were very just ; another, whose appearance was something more I therefore desired him to stop, and take in more moders, seemed willing to enter, yet afraid to ask. passengers; but he replied, as be had now mount. He carried in his hand a bundle of essays, or ed the box, it would be improper to come down; which the coachman was curious enough to inquire but that he should take them all, one after the the contents. “ These," replied the gentleman, other, when he should return. So he drove “are rhapsodies against the religion of my coun- away ; and for myself, as I could not get in, I try.” And how can you expect to come into my mounted behind, in order to hear the conversation coach, after thus choosing the wrong side of the on the way. question?" "Ay, but I am right," replied the
(To be continued.) other; "and if you give me leave I shall in a few minutes state the argument.” “Right or wrong," said the coachman, "he who disturbs religion is a
A WORD OR TWO ON THE LATE block head, and he shall never travel in a coach of
FARCE, CALLED “HIGH LIFE BEmine.” “If, then," said the gentleman, mustering
LOW STAIRS." up all his courage, “if I am not to have admit- Just as I had expected, before I saw this farce, tance as an essayist, I hope I shall not be repulsed I found it formed on too narrow a plan to afford a as an historian ; the last volume of my history met pleasing variety. The sameness of the humour in with applause.” “Yes,” replied the coachman, every scene could not but at last fail of being disa“but I have heard only the first approved at the greeable. The poor, affecting the manners of the Temple of Fame; and as I see you have it about rich, might be carried on through one character, or you, enter without further ceremony.” My atten- two at the most, with great propriety: but to have tion was now diverted to a crowd who were push- almost every personage on the scene almost of the ing forward a person that seemed more inclined to same character, and reflecting the follies of each the stage-coach of riches; but by their means he other, was unartful in the poet to the last degree. was driven forward to the same machine, which he, The scene was almost a continuation of the however, seemed heartily to despise. Impelled, same absurdity, and my Lord Duke and Sir Harhowever, by their solicitations, he steps up, flourish- ry (two footmen who assume these characters) ing a voluminous history, and demanding admit- have nothing else to do but to talk like their mastance. “Sir, I have formerly heard your nameters, and are only introduced to speak, and to show mentioned," says the coachman, “but never as an themselves. Thus, as there is a sameness of chahistorian. Is there no other work upon which you racter, there is a barrenness of incident, which, by may claim a place ?" "None," replied the other, a very small share of address, the poet might have "except a ro:nance; but this is a work of too tri- easily avoided. fling a nature to claim future attention. “You From a conformity to critic rules, which permistake," says the inquisitor, "a well-written ro- haps on the whole have done more harm than mance is no such easy task as is generally imagin- good, our author has sacrificed all the vivacity of ed. I remember formerly to have carried Cervan- the dialogue lo nature ; and though he makes his tes and Segrais; and, if you think fit, you may characters talk like servants, they are seldom ah enter
surd enough, or lively enough to make us merry. Upon our three literary travellers coming into Though he is always natural, he happene stanum the same coach, I listened attentively to hear what to be humorous.