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relish for the genuine satisfactions of un- happens, because he has lost, by bis own corrupted nature.
fault, those tender sensibilities which One of the first affections which the nature had bestowed. They are still heart perceives, is filial piety. As years daily perceived in all their perfection by increase, this affection dilates, and extends the ingenuous and innocent, and they itself to brothers and sisters, relatives and have been most truly described by feeling domestics. The child loves and is beloved poets, as contributing to pure, real, and by all around him. Amidst the con- exalted delight. versation, the events, the endearments, and
Yet the possessor of extensive lands, if tender duties of a family, he finds full he is a man of fashion and spirit, forsakes play for all his faculties and propensities, the sweet scenes of rural nature, and shuts and is often, by his own subsequent con- himself up in a crowded metropolis, and fession, happier at this early age than in leaves that liberal air which breathes over any period which succeeds it.
his lawns, and agitates his forests, to be I say then, that, were a taste for this inhaled by his menial rustics. He persimple pleasure retained, were men at a verts the designs of nature, and despises mature age led to seek their happiness in the hereditary blessings of Providence; domestic life, and in the exercise of the and he receives the adequate punishment mild virtues of family offices, their enjoy- in a restless life, perpetually seeking and ments, though less brilliant and noisy, never finding satisfaction. But the emwould be purer and more substantial. ployments of agriculture, independently But, on the contrary, we see them no of their profit, are most congenial and sooner arrived at maturity, than they pleasing to human nature. Ăn uncoreagerly leave the nest, and wander, in rupted mind sees, in the progress of vegesearch of an untried and an imaginary tation, and in the manners and excellenbliss, through all the wilds of dissipation. cies of those animals which are destined In the precipitate pursuit, innocence is to our immediate service, such charms and often lost; and whatever progress is made beauties as art can seldom produce. in refinement, little is added to solid hap- Husbandry may be superintended by an piness. Our interest, as we falsely call it, elegant mind; nor is it by any means neand our honour, become the idols whom we cessary that they who engage in it should devoutly worship, and on whose altars we contract a coarseness of manners or a sacrifice health, truth, peace, and liberty. vulgarity of sentiment. It is most favour
We are, indeed, so deeply engaged in able to health, to plenty, to repose, and our objects, that we cannot advert to the to innocence; and, great, indeed, must be beauties of nature, those fertile sources of the objects which justify a reasonable unadulterated pleasure. The young mind creature in relinquishing these. Are plays, is always delighted with rural scenery. are balls, are nocturnal assemblies of whatThe earliest poetry was pastoral, and ever denomination, are debaucheries in all every juvenile poet of the present day their modifications, which tend to rob us delights to indulge in the luxuriance of a of sleep, to lessen our patrimony, to injure rural description. A taste for these plea- our health, to render us selfish, vicious, sures will render the morning walk at thoughtless, and useless, equivalent to least as delightful as the evening assembly. these? Reason replies in the negative; The various forms which Nature assumes yet the almost universal departure from in the vicissitudes of the seasons, consti- innocence and simplicity will leave the tute a source of complacency which can affirmative established by a corrupt never be exhausted.' How grateful to majority. the senses is the freshness of the herbage, It is not without a sigh that a thinkthe fragrancy of the flowers, and all those ing man can pass by a lordly mansion, simple delights of the field, which the some sweet retreat, deserted by its falsely poets have, from the earliest ages, no less refined possessor, who is stupidly cajustly than exuberantly described ! “It rousing in a polluted city. When he is alí mere fiction,” exclaims the man of sees the chimney without smoke in the the world, “ the painting of a visionary venerable house, where all the country enthusiast.” He feels not, he cannot was once welcomed to partake of princely feel, their truth. He sees no charms in hospitality, he cannot help lamenting that herbs and blossoms; the melody of the progress of refinement, which, in rendergrove is no music to his ear; and this ing the descendants of the great fine gen
tlemen, has left them something less than ness of delight, the balsam of a western men, through the defect of manly virtues. gale.
The superintendence of a garden might A fondness for the pleasing animals of itself occupy a life elegantly and plea- which Nature has placed around us is surably. Nothing is better able to gratify another source of natural, and pure, and the inherent love of novelty; for Nature innocent amusement. The plumage and is always renewing her variegated appear- the song of the bird were, doubtless, inance. She is infinite in her productions, tended 10 delight the ear and the eye. and the life of man may come to its close Who can behold the playful lamb without before he has seen half the pictures which complacency? The fidelity of the dog, she is able to display. The taste for the generosity of the horse, and the chagardening in England is at present pure.racteristic qualities, as well as shape and Nature is restored to her throne, and reigns beauty, of all animated nature, are admimajestically beautifulin rude magnificence. rably adapted to charm the heart which The country abounds with cultivated is yet unspoiled. tracts truly paradisaical. But as the con- But in a proper intercourse and behatemplative observer roams over the lawn, viour among our fellow-creatures is found and enjoys the shade of the weeping wil- to consist our principal and most constant low, he is often led to inquire, “ Where delight. To do good, and to prevent is now the owner of this wilderness of evil, as far as the sphere of our own insweets? Happy man!” he exclaims, " to fluence or activity extends, is an infallible possess such a spot as this, and to be able method of deriving to ourselves pleasurat all times to taste the pleasure which I able emotions. And if we consult what feel springing in my bosom.” But, alas ! passes in our own bosoms before our the owner is engaged in other scenes. He youthful sensibilities are blunted, we shali is rattling over the streets of London, and find that Nature has taught us to feel the pursuing all the sophisticated joys which sweetest pleasures in relieving distress, succeed to supply the place where Nature and in communicating happiness. is relinquished. If he condescends to pay The cunning and the crafty, of whom an annual visit to the retreat, he brings consists a great part of the busy crowd, with him all his acquired inclinations; who derive an unnatural influence from and while he sits at the card-table, or at the possession of riches, will deem the the banquet, and thinks of little else than simplicity which I have recommended promoting his interest at the next election, folly. Such men will deem truth also he leaves the shrub to blossom and the folly. They consider virtue and truth as rose to diffuse its sweets in unobserved words invented to delude the simple ones; solitude.
but, indeed, to retain through life someCan it be believed that Nature bestowed thing of the simplicity of the infant, will beauty on the foliage of a flower but with render the improved and cultivated man a view to please ? The fruit might be truly wise. For, after all the refinements produced, in the same process, without of false philosophy, and the low arts of any richness and diversity of colour. No worldly cunning, honesty is our truest inother animals are sensible of their grace terest, and innocence our best wisdom. but the human; and yet the austere man
Knor's Essays of business, or the vain man of pleasure, will arraign another with a face of im
§ 92. Hints lo those who are designed portance for his admiration of a flower.
for the Life of what is called a GentleHe calls the taste trifling and useless. But
man without a Profession. is not a refusal to be pleased with such
To inherit an affluent fortune, and to appearances like the malignant unthank- be exempted from the vulgar cares of life, fulness of a sullen guest, who refuses to seems to be a lot peculiarly favourable to taste the most delicious dainties prepared the advancement and the security of for his entertainment ?
human happiness. The greater number Fine weather in England is the source of men are compelled by necessity to proof a very sensible pleasure ; but he who ceed in the same road, without liberty to is engrossed by vice or by business will deviate, or select the objects of their atlive half a life without admiring the beau- tention; but the rich heir beholds the ties of a blue sky, basking in the vernal world, and all that it contains, placed sunshine, or inhaling, with any conscious. like a plentiful feast before him, and ap
pears to have little else to do but to reach of youth, when privileged by the early out his hand, and to take what he finds possession of a fortune. But when I see most agreeable to his taste.
the carriage whisking by, and the rich or Such a lot is usually envied; but it is noble youth lolling on its side, or presidreally not happier than others. Provi- ing on its box, I cannot belp thinking the dence is not so partial as, on a first and man at the tail of the plough a more a cursory view, it appears to be. It seems, useful, happy, and respectable member of indeed, to establish a kind of equilibrium society. There is not, indeed, the least of happiness. And experience evinces, impropriety in these pleasures, when
purthat caprice, false delicacy, artificial wants, sued merely as a temporary relaxation; vanity, pride, coretousness, and envy, but all who know any ihing of the world usually render the lives of the rich and will agree with me, that young men of unemployed vot in the least more plea- fortune, frequently, in these times, make surable than the condition of the honest, grooms their companions, a stable their healthy, and industrious poor.
study, and the driving of a pair, or two It is, however, certain, that to inherit pair of horses, the utmost extent of their an independent fortune is in itself a noble activity, and the summit of their ambition. privilege, and that it ought to be highly But what, says the young heir, have I conducive to real enjoyment. I shall, to do but to amuse myself? I have no therefore, beg leave to offer a few hints trade, no profession, nor any necessity to those who are setting out in life with for either. Why may I not divert myself the distinguished advantage of a rich in- with any trifle which can excite my atten
а heritance. As all the real benefit of such tion? But are you sure, I ask in return, a condition depends on the judicious use that you have no necessary employment, of it, if the moralist can point out means to the performance of which, according to secure that point, he may be said to abilities, you are as much obliged contribute more to the improvement of the by duty, reason, honour, and conscience, young man's estate, than is he procured a as the labourer is bound to finish the subscription to a loan, or put him in a way work for which he is bired ? I believe I to make twenty per cent. of his inoney. can point out some laudable occupations
In the first place, I hope the young man in which you ought to engage, and in thus fortunate, will not be so mistaken in comparison of which, the driving of a his ideas of happiness, as to imagine that vehicle, the vanity of dress, and ten thouhe can be happy in doing nothing. Uni- sand other vanities, will appear as the versal and unvaried experience has proved, playthings of an infant, and the drivelling that he who does nothing is a wretch. of a dotard. The same experience has declared it pro- The first object of a youth who posbable, that he will not only be miserable, sesses affluence acquired by his forebut wicked.
fathers, should be the improvement of his He must resolve to render himself mind. Without this, whatever may be useful, on two accounts : first, because it your money, and whatever your titles, if is a duty he owes the community, in you have any, you will probably be a return for the protection of his person poor, mean, contemptible, and pitiful and property; and, secondly, because it creature. You must read; you must is a duty he owes to himself to be as learn to select your reading with judghappy as possible ; which he will not be, ment, and to reflect upon it with serious notwithstanding all the real and pretended attention. You must acquire a taste for gratifications of riches, without useful moral philosophy, and learn to curb your activity. It will not be enough to make overbearing insolence, and all other irhim enjoy the internal pleasures of re- regularities of your temper and your pasflection, merely to have dressed well, to sions; for it is a shame to make use of have danced at a ball, rioted at a feast, your riches and your grandeur merely to presided at a horse-race, or driven a cur- assume a licence for degrading yourself ricle or a barouche. Riding a showy to a brute. You must, in a word, have horse, whipping a pair of geldings, or four a liberal education; an education not in hand, through the fashionable streets, only liberal in name, but really polite, and sauntering in a stable, are indeed, in learned, and comprehensive. You will the present age, some of the most glorious find your nature raised by it, and yourmethods of spending the sprightly days self become a superior being, in compari
son with what you would have been with- You will adopt something of the old out it. It will exalt you in real dignity British hospitality. You will, indeed, do more than a ducal coronet. In conjunc- right to select your guests ; for indiscrition with wealth or high honours, or both, minate hospitality tends only to promote it will render you the blessing and the gluttony, and discourage merit. Men of glory of your country. Remember also, learning, and all good men, learned or that if you slight religion, that Providence unlearned, ought, for your own sake, and which gave you riches may punish your for theirs, to clairn your exclusive favour. ingratitude by rendering them, as it often Let your feasts be feasts where the mind, does, a curse.
as well as the palate, may be delighted. After a youth spent in preparation, in Discountenance the profligacy of your the study of the classics, of moral and neighbours by the silent but powerful natural philosophy, and in the correction reproof of neglect. Be not carried away of the temper and the disorders of the by the fascination of fashion and grandeur, passions, it will be time to enter on the but love and cherish true merit and honest proper employments of a mature age. industry in all its obscurities. You will very laudably desire to have a Free from all professional avocations, share in legislation ; you will take upon you will have ample leisure to attend to you the office of a magistrate; you will your family; a field well fitted for the be ready at all times to sit in judgment display of the best virtues and most valuon the dearest rights of your countrymen able qualities. Every family is a little as a juryman; you will willingly assume community; and he who governs it well, the office of guardian to public charities, supports a very noble character, that of inspector of public works, giving your the paterfamilias, or the patriarch. The time and your presence disinterestedly proper management of the various tempers for the public benefit: a gift often more and dispositions which compose large valuable than any pecuniary benefaction. families, the reformation of abuses, the You will use your influence to inquire correction of errors, the teaching of duties, into and correct the abuses of trust, to will by themselves claim a considerable remove nuisances, to improve roads, to share of your time and attention. But build bridges, to repair public buildings, if you have many children, you need never to encourage charities, and to encourage want employment. The care and superall works of national oroament and utility. intendence of them, in all the various
These may constitute your public em- duties and departments, might very hoployments. You have many of a private nourably fill a life. You must beware nature scarcely less necessary. I would of falling into a common and fatal error recommend it to you to live, if not the among the favourites of fortune, -that of whole year, yet all that part of it which thinking domestic pleasures, cares, and is not necessary to be spent near the duties, beneath their attention. Home is senate-house, on your own estate in the the scene of the best virtues and disposicountry. Condescend to look into your tions which adorn human nature. affairs, and into all the more important Though you have no appointed promatters of economy, yourself, not as a fession, yet HOMO Es, YQU ARE A MAN, miser, but as a wise and benevolent and let your assumed profession be to do citizen. This will employ you well, and good, of every sort, and in every degree, will prevent injustice to your tradesmen, as far as you are able. The world abounds and embarrassment to yourself and your with evil, moral, natural, real and imagioffspring. It will prevent that ruin, which, nary. He alone who does all he can, at this time, stalks over the land, and wherever his influence extends, to mitigate diffuses desolation, You will study to and remove it, is the TRUE GENTLEMAN. improve agriculture: a delightful employ- Others are only esquires, knights, baronets, ment, and capable of producing great ad- barons, viscounts, earls, marquisses, dukes, vantages; since agriculture has long been and kings.
Knox's Essays. in the hands of those, who, from the ob
On the ill Effects of Ridicule, stinacy of ignorance, oppose all attempts to introduce new methods of cultivation.
when employed as a Test of Truth in You will adorn your grounds with plan
Private and Common Life. tations, and not forget to plant the acorn,
Horace once happened to say, with an which is to supply your country with her air of levity, that ridicule was more effi. future bulwarks, her best defence. cacious in deciding disputes of importance
than all the severity of argument. Shaftes. subtilty can supply, though he speaks the hury caught the idea, improved upon it, dictates of conviction, is, perhaps, not apand advanced the doctrine, that ridicule parently corrupted. But a reasonable is the test of truth. All those who pos- cause may be assigned for his escaping sessed one characteristic of man in great the effect of the poison which he bears perfection, RISIBILITY, but who were slen- about him. He is probably a man of derly furnished with the otber, RATION. letters ; leads a life remote from violent ALITY, adopted the opinion with eagerness; temptations; has acquired habits of virtue; for though to reason was difficult, to laugh and, perhaps, from the practice of reasonwas easy,
ing and disputation, can maintain or exThe admirers of the graces were glad plode opinions which concern the most of so pleasing a method of philosophizing, important interests of his fellow-creatures and seized on it without examination. with all the indifference of a by-stander. They who admitted it were under a ne- But his opinions are plausibly supported : cessity of smiling; and to smile, if not to they are pleasing to the lover of novelty; laugh, was allowed to be graceful by the they afford a fancied consolation to the great legislator of decorum.
vicious; and they are read by those who The speculative opinions of studious want a sanction for flagitious conduct, men, however erroneous, often afford who wish to be furnished with arguments them innocent amusement in their closets, to make proselytes to vice, and who are without diffusing any malignant influence desirous of silencing the voice of conon the manners or happiness of others. science by the fallacies of sophistry. They However interesting to the philosopher are read by the young and the gay, as may be the disputes concerning liberty a system of philosophy
newly discovered, and necessity, or the nature of good and which far surpasses the antiquated docevil, they attract not the regard of those trines of the received moralist, and as who are agitated in the busy walk of life favourable to those ideas, which are eagerby the common pursuits of interest and ly embraced, on the expediency or lawpleasure. The metaphysician thinks his fulness of unlimited indulgence. labour of great importance to the happi- That ridicule is an infallible criterion ness of mankind, and would be not a of truth, is an opinion, from its peculiar little mortified to find, that in the great correspondence with the taste of the numbers who compose the community to greater part of mankind, much more prewhich he belongs, and for whose more valent ihan Materialism, and therefore immediate edification he consumes the more detrimental, in the common intermidnight oil, a very small part knows course of life, as well as in religion. that there ever existed such men as Berke- Men destitute of delicacy, and that ley or Hume; and that, if they knew and solid merit which is usually accompanied could understand their works, they would with diffidence, often rise to the highest prefer the opportunity of earning a penny, eminence, acquire the largest fortunes, or enjoying a good dinner, to all the ado fill the most important offices, and give vantage that ever could be derived from law to the sentiments as well as practice a conviction that matter existed not, or of others. These, judging from themthat the old principles of morals were selves, have no adequate idea of the dignity
of human nature, and the comparative But though this may be true of those perfection of which it is capable. They, doctrinal opinioos which are too abstracted perhaps, have been uniformly vicious, yet for vulgar apprehension, yet it will be have had the temporal reward of virtue; found, that there are speculative notions, they have been ignorant, yet have been which, as they require no great improve- admired for their wisdom; they have ment of understanding to be comprehend- despised all the precepts of moral philoed, are adopted as axioms as soon as pro- sophy, and by dint of that effrontery posed, and permitted to influence the which natural want of feeling inspires, conduct of life. He who is a convert have raised themselves to fame and fortune. 10 Materialism, a doctrine of late unhap- Bold through the natural presumption of pily recommended by virtuous and well- ignorance, and still farther elated by sucmeaning writers, will certainly lose some cess, by the flattery, by the attentions restraints which operated favourably on which are paid to the most undeserving his morals. It is true, the writer who prosperity, they learn to laugh at all the thus gives it all the recoinmendation his serious part of the world, who are defraud