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is only an ideal picture, or the resemblance entries of ambassadors, &c. - what mumat least is found but in a few. In truth, mery all this! what childish pageants ! they who are generally called misers are what millions are sacrificed in paying some of the very best members of society. tribute to custom! what an unnecessary The sober, the laborious, the attentive, charge at times when we are pressed with the frugal, are thus styled by the gay, real want, which cannot be satisfied withgiddy, thoughtless, and extravagant. The out burdening the poor ! first set of men do society all the good, Were such suppressed entirely, not a and the latter all the evil, that is felt. ' single creature in the state would have Even the excesses of the first no way the least cause to mourn their suppression, injure the commonwealth; those of the and many might be eased of a load they latter are the most injurious that can be now feel lying heavily upon them. If this conceived.
were put in practice, it would agree with The ancient Romans, more rational the advice of a sensible writer of Sweden, than we in this particular, were very far who, in the Gazette de France, 1753, thus from thus misplacing their admiration or expressed himself on that subject : “ It praise : instead of regarding the practice' were sincerely to be wished,” says he, of parsimony as low or vicious, they made “that the custom were established amongst it synonymous even with probity. They us, that in all events which cause a public esteemed those virtues so inseparable, joy we made our exultations conspicuous that the known expression of Vir frugi only by acts useful to society. We should signified, at one and the same time, a then quickly see many useful monuments sober and managing man, an honest man, of our reason, which would much better and a man of substance.
perpetuate the memory of things worthy The Scriptures, in a thousand places, of being transmitted to posterity, and praise economy; and it is everywhere dis would be much more glorious to humanity, tinguished from avarice. But, in spite than all those tumultuous preparations of of all its sacred dictates, a taste for vain feasts, entertainments, and other rejoicings pleasures and foolish expense is the ruling used upon such occasions." passion of the present times. Passion, The same proposal was long before condid I call it? rather the madness which firmed by a Chinese emperor, who lived at once possesses the great and the little, in the last century, who, upon an occasion the rich and the poor: even some are so of extraordinary joy, forbade his subjects intent upon acquiring the superfluities of to make the usual illuminations, either life, that they sacrifice its necessaries in with a design of sparing their substance, this foolish pursuit.
or of turning them to some more durable To attempt the entire abolition of indications of joy, more glorious for him luxury, as it would be impossible, so it and more advantageous to his people. is not my intent. The generality of man- Aftersuch instances of political frugality, kind are too weak, too much slaves to can we then continue to blame the Dutch custom and opinion, to resist the torrent ambassador at a certain court, who receivof bad example. But if it be impossible ing at his departure the portrait of the to convert the multitude, those who have king, enriched with diamonds, asked what received a more extended education, who this fine thing might be worth? Being are enlightened and judicious, may find told that it might amount to about two some hints on this subject useful. They thousand pounds,—“And why,” cries he, may see some abuses, the suppression of cannot his majesty keep the picture and which would by no means endanger public give me the money?” The simplicity may liberty; they may be directed to the be ridiculed at first; but when we come abolition of some unnecessary expenses, i to examine it more closely, men of sense which have no tendency to promote hap- will at once confess that he had reason in piness or virtue, and which might be di- what he said, and that a purse of two rected to better purposes. Our fireworks, thousand guineas is much more serviceable our public feasts and entertainments, our than a picture.
Should we follow the same method of tempers, and produce a reconciliation. state frugality in other respects, what They are thus sent for twice or thrice: if numberless savings might not be the re- their folly happens to be incurable, they sult! How many possibilities of saving are permitted to go to law, and, as we in the administration of justice, which give up to amputation such members as now burdens the subject, and enriches cannot be cured by art, justice is permitted some members of society, who are useful to take its course. only from its corruption !
It is unnecessary to make here long It were to be wished, that they who declamations, or calculate what society govern kingdoms would imitate artisans. would save were this law adopted. I am When at London a new stuff has been sensible that the man who advises any invented, it is immediately counterfeited reformation only serves to make himself in France. How happy were it for society ridiculous. What ! mankind will be apt if a first minister would be equally soli- to say, adopt the customs of countries that citous to transplant the useful laws of have not so much real liberty as our own ? other countries into his own.
our present customs, what are they to any arrived at a perfect imitation of porcelain; man? we are very happy under them : let us endeavour to imitate the good to this must be a very pleasant fellow, who society that our neighbours are found to attempts to make us happier than we practise, and let our neighbours also already are! Does he not know that imitate those parts of duty in which we abuses are the patrimony of a great part excel.
of the nation? Why deprive us of a There are
some men who, in their malady by which such numbers find their garden, attempt to raise those fruits which account? This, I must own, is an argunature has adapted only to the sultry ment to which I have nothing to reply. climates beneath the Line. We have at What numberless savings might there our very doors a thousand laws and cus- not be made in both arts and commerce, toms infinitely useful: these are the fruits particularly in the liberty of exercising we should endeavour to transplant—these trade, without the necessary prerequisites the exotics that would speedily become of freedom! Such useless obstructions naturalized to the soil. They might have crept into every state, from a spirit grow in every climate, and benefit 'every of monopoly, a narrow selfish spirit of possessor.
gain, without the least attention to general The best and the most useful laws I society. Such a clog upon industry frehave ever seen are generally practised in quently drives the poor from labour, and Holland. When two men are determined reduces them by degrees to a state of to go to law with each other, they are hopeless indigence. We have already a first obliged to go before the reconciling more than sufficient repugnance to labour ; judges, called the peace-makers. If the we should by no means increase the obparties come attended with an advocate, stacles, or make excuses in a state for idleor a solicitor, they are obliged to retire, Such faults have ever crept into a as we take fuel from the fire we are state under wrong or needy administradesirous of extinguishing.
tions. The peace-makers then begin advising Exclusive of the masters, there are numthe parties, by assuring them, that it is berless faulty expenses among the workthe height of folly to waste their sub- men,-clubs, garnishes,freedoms, and such stance, and make themselves mutually like impositions, which are not too minute miserable, by having recourse to the tribu- even for law to take notice of, and which nals of justice; “follow but our direction, should be abolished without mercy, since and we will accommodate matters with they are ever the inlets to excess and out any expense to either.” If the rage idleness, and are the parent of all those of debate is too strong upon either party, outrages which naturally fall upon the they are remitted back for another day, more useful part of society. In the towns in order that time may soften their and countries I have seen I never saw a
city or village yet, whose miseries were there might be fewer wants, and even fewer not in proportion to the number of its pleasures, but infinitely more happiness. public-houses. In Rotterdam, you may The rich and the great would be better go through eight or ten streets without able to satisfy their creditors; they would finding a public-house. In Antwerp almost be better able to marry their children, and, every second house seems an alehouse. ' instead of one marriage at present, there In the one city, all wears the appearance might be two, if such regulations took of happiness and warm affluence; in the place. other, the young fellows walk about the The imaginary calls of vanity, which streets in shabby finery, their fathers sit in reality contribute nothing to our real at the door darning or knitting stockings felicity, would not then be attended to, while their ports are filled with dunghills. while the real calls of nature might be
Alehouses are an occasion of always and universally supplied. The debauchery and excess, and, either in a difference of employment in the subject religious or political light, it would be our what, in reality, produces the good of socihighest interest to have the greatest part ety. If the subject be engaged in providing of them suppressed. They should be put only the luxuries, the necessaries must under laws of not continuing open beyond be deficient in proportion. If, neglecting a certain hour, and harbouring only the produce of our own country, our minds proper persons. These rules, it may be are set upon the productions of another, said, will diminish the necessary taxes ; we increase our wants, but not our means; but this is false reasoning, since what was and every new imported delicacy for our consumed in debauchery abroad would, tables, or ornament in our equipage, is a if such a regulation took place, be more tax upon the poor. justly, and perhaps more equitably for the The true interest of every government workman's family, spent at home; and this is to cultivate the necessaries, by which is cheaper to them, and without loss of time. always meant every happiness our own On the other hand, our alehouses being country can produce; and suppress all ever open, interrupt business; the work the luxuries, by which is meant, on the man is never certain who frequents them, other hand, every happiness imported from nor can the master be sure of having what abroad. Commerce has, therefore, its was begun finished at a convenient time. bounds; and every new import, instead of
An habit of frugality among the lower receiving encouragement, should be first orders of mankind is much more beneficial examined whether it be conducive to the to society than the unreflecting might interest of society. imagine. The pawnbroker, the attorney, Among the many publications with which and other pests of society, might, by the press is every day burdened, I have proper management, be turned into ser- often wondered why we never had, as in viceable members; and were these trades other countries, an Economical Journal, abolished, it is possible the same avarice which might at once direct to all the useful that conducts the one, or the same chica- discoveries in other countries, and spread nery that characterises the other, might, those of our own. As other journals serve by proper regulations, be converted into to amuse the learned, or, what is more frugality and commendable prudence. often the case, to make them quarrel —
But some who have made the eulogium while they only serve to give us the history of luxury have represented it as the natural of the mischievous world, for so I call our consequence of every country that is be- warriors, or the idle world, for so may the come rich. Did we not employ our extra- learned be called, --they never trouble ordinary wealth in superfluities, say they, their heads about the most useful part of what other means would there be to employ mankind, our peasants and our artisans. it in? To which it may be answered, if Were such a work carried into execution, frugality were established in the state, if with proper management and just direcour expenses were laid out rather in the tion, it might serve as a repository for necessaries than the superfluities of life, every useful improvement, and increase
that knowledge which learning often serves should be fond of giving their favours to to confound.
those who are insensible of the obligaSweden seems the only country where tion, and their dislike to those who, of the science of economy appears to have all mankind, are most apt to retaliate the fixed its empire. In other countries it is injury. cultivated only by a few admirers, or Löy Even though our present writers had societies which have not received sufficient not equal merit with their predecessors, it sanction to become completely useful; but would be politic to use them with cerehere there is founded a royal academy mony: Every conipliment paid them destined to this purpose only, composed would be more agreeable, in proportion of the most learned and powerful members as they least deserved it. Tell a lady with of the state-an academy which declines a handsome face that she is pretty, she every thing which only te.minates in only thinks it her due; it is what she has amusement, erudition, or curiosity; and heard a thousand times before from others, admits only of observations tending to and disregards i he compliment: but assure illustrate husbandry, agriculture, and every a lady the cut of whose visage is something real physical improvement. In this country more plain that she looks killing to-day, nothing is left to private rapacity; but she instantly bridles up, and feels the force every improvement is immediately diffused, of the well-timed flattery the whole day and its inventor immediately recompensed after. Compliments which we think are by the state. Happy were it so in other deserved, we accept only as debts, with countries ! By this means every impostor indifference; but those which conscience would be prevented from ruining or deceiv- informs us we do not merit, we receive ing the public with pretended discoveries with the same gratitude that we do favours or nostrums; and every real inventor would given away. not, by this means, suffer the inconveni- Our gentlemen, however, who preside ences of suspicion.
at the distribution of literary fame, seem In short, the economy equally unknown resolved to part with praise neither from to the prodigal and avaricious seems to motives of justice or generosity: one would be a just mean between both extremes ; think, when they take pen in hand, that and to a transgression of this at present it was only to blot reputations, and to put decried virtue it is that we are to attribute their seals to the packet which consigns a great part of the evils which infest society. every new-born effort to oblivion. A taste for superfluity, amusement, and Yet, notwithstanding the republic of pleasure bring effeminacy, idleness, and letters hangs at present so feebly together expense in their train. But a thirst of —though those friendships which once riches is always proportioned to our de- promoted literary fame seem now to be bauchery, and the greatest prodigal is too discontinued—though every writer who frequently found to be the greatest miser: now draws the quill seems to aim at profit, so that the vices which seem the most as well as applause, ----many among them opposite are frequently found to produce are probably laying in stores for immoreach other; and, to avoid both, it is only tality, and are provided with a sufficient necessary to be frugal.
stock of reputation to last the whole Virtus est medium vitiorum et utrinque
As I was indulging these reflections, in
order to eke out the present page, I could A REVERIE.
not avoid pursuing the metaphor of going
a journey in my imagination, and formed SCARCELY a day passes in which we do the following Reverie, too wild for allegory, not hear compliments paid to Dryden, and too regular for a dream. Pope, and other writers of the last age, I fancied myself placed in the yard of a while not a month comes forward that is large inn, in which there were an infinite not loaded with invectives against the number of waggons and stage-coaches, writers of this. Strange, that our critics attended by fellows who either invited the
company to take their places, or were creature, perhaps, if there be room left, I busied in packing their baggage. Each may let you ride a while for charity.” vehicle had its inscription, showing the I now took my stand by the coachman place of its destination. On one I could at the door; and since I could not comread, The Pleasure Stage Coach; on an- mand a seat, was resolved to be as useful other, The Waggon of Industry; on a as possible, and earn by my assiduity what third, The Vanity Whim; and on a fourth, I could not by my merit. The Landau of Riches. I had some incli- The next that presented for a place was nation to step into each of these, one after a most whimsical figure indeed. another; but, I know not by what means, hung round with papers of his own comI passed them by, and at last fixed my posing, not unlike those who sing ballads eye upon a small carriage, Berlin fashion, in the streets, and came dancing up to the which seemed the most convenient vehicle door with all the confidence of instant at a distance in the world; and upon my admittance. The volubility of his motion nearer approach found it to be The Fame and address prevented my being able to Machine.
read more of his cargo than the word InI instantly made up to the coachman, spector, which was written in great letters whom I found to be an affable and seem- at the top of some of the papers. He ingly good-natured fellow. He informed opened the coach-door himself without any me, that he had but a few days ago returned ceremony, and was just slipping in, when from the Temple of Fame, to which he the coachman, with as little ceremony, had been carrying Addison, Swift, Pope, pulled him back. Our figure seemed per. Steele, Congreve, and Colley Cibber; that fectly angry at this repulse, and demanded they made but indifferent company by the gentleman's satisfaction. “Lord, sir!” way; and that he once or twice was going replied the coachman, " instead of proper to empty his berlin of the whole cargo : luggage, by your bulk you seem loaded “However," says he, “I got them all safe for a West India voyage.
You are big home, with no other damage than a black enough, with all your papers, to crack eye, which Colley gave Mr. Pope, and am twenty stage-coaches. Excuse me, indeed, now returned for another coachful.”—“If | sir, for you must not enter."
Our figure that be all, friend,” said I, “and if you are now began to expostulate: he assured the in want of company, I'll make one with coachman, that though his baggage seemed all my heart. Open the door: I hope the so bulky, it was perfectly light, and that machine rides
."_“Oh, for that, sir, he would be contented with the smallest extremely easy.' But still keeping the corner of room. But Jehu was inflexible, door shut, and measuring me with his eye, and the carrier of the Inspectors was sent
Pray, sir, have you no luggage? You to dance back again, with all his papers seem to be a good-natured sort of a gentle. fluttering in the wind. We expected to man; but I don't find you have got any have no more trouble from this quarter, luggage, and I never permit any to travel when, in a few minutes, the same figure with me but such as have something changed his appearance, like harlequin valuable to
for coach-hire.” Examin- upon the stage, and with the same confi. ing my pockets, I own I was not a little dence again made his approaches, dressed disconcerted at this unexpected rebuff; but in lace, and carrying nothing but a nosegay. considering that I carried a number of Upon coming nearer, he thrust the nosethe BEE under my arm, I was resolved to gay to the coachman's nose, grasped the open it in his eyes, and dazzle him with brass, and seemed now resolved to enter the splendour of the page. He read the by violence. I found the struggle soon title and contents, however, without any begin to grow hot, and the coachman, emotion, and assured me he had liever who was a little old, unable to continue heard of it before. "In short, friend,” the contest; so, in order to ingratiate mysaid he, now losing all his former respect, self, I stepped in to his assistance, and our you must not come in : I expect better united efforts sent our literary Proteus, passengers; but as you seem a harmless though worsted, unconquered still.- clear