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superiors be revolted by a rusticity however jovial, nor driven back into their fastnesses by overstepping the partition line, and making saucy inroads into their proper quarters. Who questions a minister about news or politics? Who talks ribaldry before a bishop? Once in seven years is often enough for the levelling familiarity of electioneering manners.
There is another remark, which I cannot excuse myself from making, if it were only for the sake of those luckless beings, who being born with duller faculties, or stampt by the hand of nature with oddities either of humour, or of person, seem to be set up in society as butts for the arrows of raillery and ridicule: If the object thus made the victim of the company, feels the shaft, who but must suffer with him? If he feels it not, we blush for human nature, whose dignity is sacrificed in his person; and as for the profest buffoon, I take him to have as little pretensions to true humour, as a pun. ster has to true wit. There is scope enough for all the eccentricities of character without turning cruelty into sport; let satire take its share, but let vice only shrink before it; let it silence the tongue that wantonly violates truth, or defames reputation; let it batter the insulting towers of pride, but let the air-built castles of vanity, much more the hum. ble roof of the indigent and infirm, never provoke its spleen.
It happened to me not long ago to fall into company with some very respectable persons, chiefly of the mercantile order, where a country gentleman, who was a stranger to most of the party, took upon him to entertain the company, with a tedious string of stories of no sort of importance to any
soul present, and all tending to display his own consequence, fortune, and independence. Such conversation was ill calculated for the company present, the majority of whom had I dare say been the founders of their own fortunes, and I should doubt if there was any quarter of the globe accessible to commerce, which had not been resorted to by some one or other then sitting at the table. This uninteresting egotist therefore was the more unpardonable, as he shut out every topic of curious and amusing information, which could no where meet a happier opportunity for discussion.
He was endured for a considerable time with that patience which is natural to men of good manners and experience in the world. This encouragement only rendered him more insupportable; when at last an elderly gentleman seized the opportunity of a short pause in his discourse, to address the following reproof to this eternal talker.
• We have listened to you, Sir, a long time with attention, and it does not appear
any body present is disposed to question either your independence, or the comforts that are annexed to it; we rejoice that you possess them in so full a degree, and we wish every landed gentleman in the kingdom was in the same happy predicament with yourself; but we are traders, Sir, and are beholden to our industry and fair dealing for what you inherit from your ancestors, and yourself never toiled for. Might it not be altogether as amusing to you to be told of our adventures in foreign climes and countries ; of our dangers, difficulties, and escapes; our remarks
the manners and customs of other nations, as to enclose tbe whole conversation within the hedge of your own estate, and shut up
intelligence, wide as the world itself, within the narrow limits of your parish pound ? Believe me, Sir, we are glad to hear you, and we respect your order in the state, but we are willing to hear each other also in our turns ; for let me observe to you in the style of the compting-house, that conversation, like trade, abhors a monopoly, and that a man can derive no benefit from society, unless he hears others talk as well as himself.'
I was in company the other day with a young gen-
pay to society and your country for living amongst us and supporting the character of what is called a landed gentleman? Part of your income will be stopt for the maintenance of them who have none, under the denomination of poor-rates; this may be called a fine upon the partiality of fortune, levied by the law of society, which will not trust its poor members to the precarious charity of the rich : another part must go to the debts and necessities of the government, which protects you in war and peace, and is also a fine, which you must be content to pay for the honour of being an Englishman, and the advantage of living in a land of liberty and security. The learned professions will also have their share ; the church for taking care of your soul, the physician for looking after your body, and the lawyer must have part of your property for superintending the rest. The merchant, tradesman and artisan will have their profit upon all the multiplied wants, comforts and indulgencies of civilized life: these are not to be enumerated, for they depend on the humours and habits of men; they have grown up
with the refinements and elegancies of the age, and they will further increase, as these shall advance: they are the conductors, which, like the blood-vessels in the human frame, circulate your wealth, and every other man's wealth, through every limb and even fibre of the national body: the hand of industry creates that wealth, and to the hand of industry it finally returns, as blood does to the heart.”
If we trace the situation of man from a mere state of nature to the highest state of civilization, we shall find these artificial wants and dependences increase with every stage and degree of his improvements; so that if we consider each nation apart as one great machine, the several parts and springs, which give it motion, naturally become more and more complicated and multifarious, as the uses to which it is applied are more and more diversified. Again, if we compare two nations in an equal state of civilization, we may remark, that where the greater frecdom obtains, there the greater variety of artificial wants will obtain also, and of course property will circulate through more channels: this I take to be the case upon a comparison between France and England, arising from the different constitutions of them and us with respect to civil liberty.
The natural wants of men are pretty much the same in most states, but the humours of men will take different directions in different countries, and are governed in a great degree by the laws and constitution of the realm in which they are found : there are numbers of people in England, who get their living by arts and occupations, which would not be tolerated in a despotic government. Men's manners are simplified in proportion to the restraint and circumscription under which they are kept. The country sports of English gentlemen furnish maintenance and employment to vast numbers of our people, whereas in France and other arbitrary states, men of the first rank and fortune reside in the capital, and keep no establishments of this sort. What a train of grooms, jockies and stable-boys follow the heels of our horses and hounds in tight boots and leather breeches ! each of which carries the clothes of six men upon his back, cased in one skin of flannel under another, like the coats of an onion. The loco-motive mania of an Englishman circulates his person, and of course his cash, into every quarter of the kingdom : a Frenchman takes a journey only when he cannot help it, an Englishman has no other reason but because he likes it; he moves with
every shift of the weather, and follows the changes of the most variable climate in the world; a frosty morning puts him from his hunting, and he is in London before night; a thaw meets him in town, and again he scampers into the country: he has a horse to run at Epsom, another at Salisbury, and a third at York, and he must be on the spot to back every one of them; he has a stud at Newmarket, a mistress in London, a shooting-box in Norfolk, and a pack of fox-hounds in the New Forest : for one wheel that real business puts in motion, pleasure, whim, ennui turn one hundred: sickness, which confines all the rest of the world, sends him upon his travels ; one doctor plunges him into the sea at Brighthelmstone, a second steeps him in warm water at Buxton; and a third sends him to Bath ; for the gentlemen of the learned faculty,