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is a virtue of a very different complexion. It is raised above duty, and, from its elevation, attracts the attention and the praises of us little mortals below.
In this manner do men generally reason upon justice and generosity. The first is despised, though a virtue essential to the good of society, and the other attracts our esteem, which too frequently proceeds from an impetuosity of temper, rather directed by vanity than reason. Lysippus is told that his banker asks a debt of forty pounds, and that a distressed aequaintance petitions for the same sum. He gives it without hesitating to the latter, for he demands as a favour what the former requires as a debt.
Mankind in general are not sufficiently acquainted with the import of the word justice: it is commonly believed to consist only in a performance of those duties to which the laws of society can oblige usThis I allow is sometimes the import of the word, and in this sense justice is distinguished froin equity; but there is a justice still more extensive and which can be shown to embrace all the virtues united.
Justice may he defined, that virtue which impels us to give to every person what is his due. In this extended sense of the word, it comprehends the practice of every virtue which reason prescribes, or society should expect. Our duty to our Maker, to each other, and to ourselves, are fully answered, if we give them what we owe them. Thus justice, properly speaking, is the only virtue: and all the rest have their origin in it.
The qualities of candour, fortitude, charity, and generosity, for instance, are not in their own nature virtues; and, if ever they deserve the title, it is owing only to justice, which impels and directs
them. Without such a moderator, candour might become indiscretion, fortitude obstinacy, charity imprudence, and generosity mistaken profusion.
A disinterested action, if it be not conducted by justice, is at best, indifferent in its nature, and not unfrequently even turns to vice. The expenses of society, of presents, of entertainments, and the other helps to cheerfulness, are actions merely indifferent, when not repugnant to a better method of disposing of our superfluities; but they become vicious when they obstruct or exhaust our abilities from a more virtuous disposition of our circumstances.
True generosity is a duty as indispensably necessary as those imposed upon us by law. It is a rule imposed on us by reason, which should be the sovereign law of a rational being. But this generosity does not consist in obeying every impulse of humanity, in following blind passion for our guide, and impairing our circumstances by present benefactions, so as to render us incapable of future ones.
Misers are generally characterised as men without honour, or without humanity, who live only to accumulate, and to this passion sacrifice every other happiness. They have been described as madmen, who, in the midst of abundance, banish every plea. sure, and make, from imaginary wants, real necessities. But few, very few, correspond to this exaggerated picture; and, perhaps, there is not one in whom all these circumstances are found united. Instead of this, we find the sober and the industrious branded by the vain and the idle with this odious appellation; men who, by frugality and labour, raised themselves above their equals, and con. tribute their share of industry to the common stock.
Whatever the vain or the ignorant may say, well were it for society, had we more of these characters
amongst us. In general these close men are fonnd at last the true benefactors of society. With an avaricious man we seldom lose in our dealings, but too frequently in our commerce with prodigality.
A French priest, whose name was Godinot, went for a long time by the name of the Griper. He refused to relieve the most apparent wretchedness, and, by a skilful management his vineyard, had the good fortune to acquire immense sums of money. The inhabitants of Rheims, who were his fel. low-citizens, detested him; and the populace, who seldom love a miser, wherever he went, followed him with shouts of contempt. He still, however, continued his former simplicity of life, his amazing and unremitted frugality. He had long perceived the wants of the poor in the city, particularly in having no water but what they were obliged to buy at an advanced price! wherefore that whole fortune which he had been amassing, he laid out in an aqueduct, by which he did the poor more useful and lasting service, than if he had distributed his whole income in charity every day at his door.
Among men long conversant with books, we too frequently find those misplaced virtues, of which I have been now complaining. We find the studious animated with a strong passion for the great virtues, as they are mistakingly called, and utterly forgetful of the ordinary ones. The declamations of philo. sophy are generally rather exhausted on those supererogatory duties, than on such as are indispensably necessary. A man, therefore, who has taken his ideas of mankind from study alone, generally comes into the world with a heart melting at every fictitions distress. Thus he is induced, by mispl liberality, to put himself into the indigent circum. stances of the person he relieves.
I shall conclude this paper with the advice of one of the ancients, to a young man whom he saw giving away all his substance to pretended distress. • It is possible, that the person you relieve may be an honest man; and I know that you, who relieve him, are such. You see then, by your generosity, that you rob a man who is certainly deserving, to bestow it on one who may possibly be a rogue: and, while you are unjust in rewarding uncertain merit, you are doubly guilty by stripping yourself.'
ON THE EDUCATION OF YOUTH.
AS few subjects are more interesting to society,
so few have been more frequently written upon, than the education of youth. Yet it is a little surprising that it has been treated almost by all in a declamatory manner. They have insisted largely on the advantages that result from it, both to indi. viduals and to society; and have expatiated in the praise of what none have ever been so hardy as to call in question.
Instead of giving us fine but empty harangues upon this subject, instead of indulging each his particular and whimsical systems, it had been much better if the writers on this subject had treated it in a more scientific manner, repressed all the sallies of imagination, and given us the result of their observations with didactic simplicity. Upon this subject, the smallest errors are of the most dangerous consequence; and the author should venture the imputation of stupidity upon a topic, where his slightest deviations may tend to injure the rising
generation. However, such are the whimsical and erroneous productions written upon this subject. Their authors have studied to be uncommon, not to be just; and, at present, we want a treatise upon education, not to tell us any thing new, but to explode the errors which have been introduced by the admirers of novelty. It is in this manner books become numerous: a desire of novelty produces a book, and other books are required to destroy the former.
I shall, therefore, throw out a few thoughts upon this subject, which, though known, have not been attended to by others; and shall dismiss all attempts to please, while I study only instruction.
The manner in which our youth of London are at present educated, is, some in free-shools in the city, but the far greater number in boarding-schools about town. The parent justly consults the health of his child, and finds an education in the country tends to promote this much more than a continu. ance in town. Thus far he is right; if there were a possibility of having even our free-schools kept a little out of town, it would certainly conduce to the health and vigour of, perhaps, the mind as well as the body. It may be thought whimsical, but it is truth; I have found, by experience, that they, who have spent all their lives in cities,contract not only an effeminacy of habit, but even of thinking.
But when I have said that the boarding-schools are preferable to free-schools, as being in the country, this is certainly the only advantage I can allow them ; otherwise it is impossible to conceive the ignorance of those who take npon them the important trust of education. Is any man unfit for any of the professions, he finds his last resource in setting up a school. Do any become bankrupts in