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the Spiritual Quixote, Columella, Euphrofyne, and fome other publications of fancy and good-humour: nor are the Anecdotes of Eugenius of lefs importance; for to smooth, the wrinkled brow of care, to beguile the heavy hours of suspence, or feduce the reflefs foul for a moment from its anxious folicitudes, is an important task, and one in which humanity would wifh to be employed.
The chief opinion which the author endeavours to inculcate is, that the prefent age improves in many respects; and that the manners of our cotemporaries are, at leaft, not ' altered for the worse.' We have lately inclined to the fame opinion, in subjects of literature; and perhaps, if the vices and follies of the laft age are compared, in cumulo, with those of the prefent, they may prefent a more shocking picture than we can now furnish. Avarice and hypocrify are certainly not among the latter. But let us hear our author: we can only find room for fome parts of his'
Reafon has certainly gained ground, though deep learning may be upon the decline; many prejudices are worn off, and many abfurd customs laid afide; cur manners are evidently more polished, and I think not more corrupt, than in the days of our youth. If we have fewer foxhunters, we have fewer hard drinkers; if our country gentlemen live more in public places, they drink lefs in private parties, than heretofore, As to our statesmen, orators, and poets,-if we must defcend to particulars, without regard to party-though we have no Walpoles, Pulteneys, or Bolingbrokes, we have men not lefs honeft, not lefs able: we have a Th-low, C-md-n, a N-th, a Charles F-x, and a fecond William P-tt.
If we have not a Swift, an Addison, or a Pope, we have an H-rd, the W-rtons, and an H-yley; with many others not inferior to them; not to mention many female writers, fuperior to those of any age, ancient or modern.
In point of tafte and kill in the polite arts, you will hardly difpute our fuperiority to the last age; nor put even Pope's hero, Jervas, in competition with Reynolds or Gainf borough; or Hogarth himself with Harry B-nbury.
Even our fair ladies, though some few, with a noble contempt of the laws of decency as well as of chastity, have dif tinguished themfelves in the annals of gallantry; and though they have too generally adopted the high ton of a bold maf culine air and ambiguous drefs; yet I queftion whether we have not in high life as many, or more examples of conjugal fidelity, maternal tenderness, and domeftic economy, as in
the former part of this, or in the latter part of the last century.'
He opposes the arguments drawn from the licentiousness of fome modern fashionable females, in the following manner.
The Peerage of Great Britain, continues he, in conjunction with the Irish nobility, many of whom refide in England, amount, I believe, to near five hundred families and our commoners of high rank, and poffeffed of capital fortunes, and who alfo figure in high life, are almoft innumerable.
Now amongst thefe people of diftinction, who exhibit themselves on the theatre of the polite world, we hear of two or three ladies, in two or three years, perhaps, who from mere wantonnefs and love of variety, or from being unfuitably matched by their parents-and fometimes, I fear, from the ill ufage of their tyrannical mafters-violate their conjugal engagements, feparate from their hufbands, become the fubject of public fpeculation, and fill every news-paper with licentious anecdotes, criminal adventures, and trials for incontinency.
But we hear nothing all this while, of the hundreds and thousands of virtuous wives, tender mothers, or dutiful daughters, who, in the fequeftered paths of life, discharge their duty in their feveral relations and departments without, noife or oftentation.
Neither are the trials of these few fair culprits, in this age, ftained with the guilt of poisoning or affaffinations; crimes fhocking to humanity, with which history abounds; and which have furnished the fubjects of tragedy, in earlier periods, in our own country, as well as in other parts of Europe, and amongst the ancient celebrated commonwealths of Greece and Rome.'
Perhaps it is not difficult to draw the balance; but it will be augmented or diminished by the mind of the accomptant. Those who país cheerily through the vale of life, without feeling its diftreffes or bearing its burthens, will increase the favourable fum: while thofe who fink under disease, whose pain, either of body or mind, cafts a gloomy fhade on their profpects, and feparates their minutes by imaginary hours, will form a different opinion. Truth, as ufual, muft lie between; and when we weigh the facts in that balance, we think, with our author, that we have feen worfe times; but he muft allow us to add, that we wish for better.
The story, in general, is fimple, pleafing, and tender. The author calls it an embellished narrative; it is not above truth; it is not ornamented with fplendid imagery, or refined by an affected delicacy; it feems to contain real facts in difguife.
We have read the anecdotes with pleasure: they fpeak to the heart; and the heart which can feel will applaud them.
Many judicious remarks are interfperfed in the narrative, with which we generally agree; but we cannot take them from their proper place. The flower which ornaments a bouquet, from the combination or contraft of its colours with those which furround it, may not be particularly ftriking, when separated. Yet we cannot help tranfcribing our author's fentiments with refpect to the poetical Milk-woman; we tranfcribe, because we wish ftrongly to enforce them.
• A scene of this kind discovered lately to the benevolent Mr. B. and that foul of fenfibility Mrs. H. M―re, the ingenious and virtuous Briftol milk-woman; whom they have nobly relieved, and placed above want, by the affistance of lady B Mrs. M―t-gue, and other friends; and have left her in a fituation to court the mufes at her leifure. But as Apollo himself does not always ftring his bow,"—and as verse, in this taftelefs age, is not always a marketable commodity, it would not be amifs, if Mrs. Yearly had two ftrings to her bow, and (I fpeak it feriously) were inftructed to make cheesecakes and custards with her milk, as well as to make verses; in which cafe, any productions of her mufe, which lay upon her hands, might be usefully employed in protecting the more lucrative productions of her oven?'
Thefe volumes of our author are ornamented, like his other works, by the elegant pencil of Mr. Bampfylde,—' arcades ambo' a kindred tafte feems to have united them; and the labours of each reflect a luftre on the other.
Paley's Principles of Moral and Political Philofophy. (Concluded, from p. 37.)
AFTER having examined the relative duties both deter
minate and indeterminate, our very candid and intelligent author confiders the duties to ourselves; that is, those duties which have our well-being for their object, and which unfortunately we are leaft attentive to. The regard to be paid to them is alfo of confequence to fociety in general, yet in fome inftances they may not do any great injury to our fellow-creatures, though in all they are hurtful to ourfelves. Under this head Mr. Paley examines the Rights of Self-defence, Drunkenness, and Suicide. The Rights of Selfdefence are properly stated, and no exigence is fuppofed by our author to justify a perfon in taking another's life, but when life and perhaps chastity are in danger, and every me
thod of flight, or procuring affiftance, is taken away. Drunkenness has often exercised the pen of the moralist, and it is no imputation to an author's ingenuity to have fuggested nothing new on the subject; but Mr. Paley places the ufual arguments, both from reafon and Scripture, in a very ftriking light. The arguments in defence of fuicide are delivered with a force, which even a ftrenuous affertor of its lawfulness would approve. This is an inftance of our author's candour; but we fear the anfwer will not appear fufficiently ftrong: we mean not that he betrays the caufe which he should defend; but that the arguments are not fuch as will affect the determined fuicide. In the cooler moments, the reafon and the feelings oppofe it with violence; but in the hour of murder, reafon is asleep; infalted pride, difappointed ambition, or fullen defpair, are only awake. The man who would oppofe fuicide with fuccefs muft fpeak to thefe: he must pique the pride, rouse the remaining spark of ambition, and add force to the resolution. This is a difeafe of the paffions; the reafon and the judgment are already vanquished enemies.
Of the duties towards God, the first is prayer. The arguments from the light of nature, Mr. Paley owns, are only negative; and do not pofitively enforce the duty and efficacy of prayer. This part of his fubject he has examined with candour; the infidel and deift can go on with him cordially. In this way, though we have applauded his candour, we think too that he has acted with the most confummate policy. ftate the argument weakly, or to reply to it injudiciously, the moft common method (we are forry to be obliged to remark it) of acting, either difgufts the opponent, or adds to his triumph. The caufe, in our author's hands, lofes nothing his arguments do not weaken the faith of the believer; and they conduct, with great addrefs, the opponent to other arguments derived from revelation. If thefe are denied, the force of evidence, from reafon alone, inclines the balance in favour of prayer; and the antagonist is left in a more proper state than that in which he probably commenced the enquiry. The next chapter, which contains the comparative advantages of public and private prayer, is very juft and valuable. Mr. Paley proceeds to forms of prayer. In this chapter he enumerates the advantages of a Liturgy with great propriety. He is probably not equally accurate in his defence of the amplification of our prefent forms. The compofer cannot expect that the devotion will be equally kept up in an extenfive fervice; and it is evident that, in an animated concise prayer, the attention will be more alive than in the more laboured repetitions of former ages. There are undoubtedly many ftrong objections
to the prefent forms; and these can be only evaded by alledging, what is ftrially true, that every other mode of public prayer is liable to more numerous and important ones.
The Ufe of Sabbatical Inftitutions is our author's next object; and he explains the inftitution, and its reasons, in a fcriptural and moral view. We cannot refift tranfcribing the following very intelligent and judicious anfwers to fome obvious queftions.
• If it be asked, as it often has been, wherein confists the difference between walking out with your ftick or with your gun? between fpending the evening at home, or in a tavern? Between paffing the Sunday afternoon at a game of cards, or in converfation not more edifying, nor always fo inoffensive ?To these, and to the fame queftion under a variety of forms, and in a multitude of fimilar examples, we return the following, anfwer:-That the religious obfervation of Sunday, if it ought to be retained at all, must be upheld by fome public and vifible diftinctions: that draw the line of diftinction where you will, many actions which are fituated on the confines of the line, will differ very little, yet lie on oppofite fides of itthat every trefpafs upon that referve, which public decency has eftablished, breaks down the fencé, by which the day is feparated to the fervice of religion-that it is unfafe to trifle with fcruples and habits that have a beneficial tendency, though founded in mere cuftom-that thefe liberties, however intended, will certainly be confidered by those who obferve them, not only as difrefpectful to the day and inftitution, but as proceeding from a fecret contempt of the Chriftian faith-that confequently they diminish a reverence for religion in others, fo far as the authority of our opinion, or the efficacy of our example reaches; or rather, so far as either will ferve for an excuse of negligence to those who are glad of any-that as to cards and dice, which put in their claim to be confidered amongst the harmless occupations of a vacant hour, it may be obferved, that few find any difficulty in refraining from play on Sunday, except they who fit down to it with the views and eagerness of gamefters that gaming is feldom innocent-that the anxiety and perturbations, however, which it excites, are inconfiftent with the tranquillity and frame of temper, in which the duties and thoughts of religion fhould always both find, and leave us
and laftly, we shall remark, that the example of other countries, where the fame or greater licence is allowed, affords no apology for irregularities in our own; because a practice which is tolerated by public order and ufage, neither receives the fame conftruction, nor gives the fame offence, as where it is discouraged and cenfured by both.'
The moral part of this work is concluded by a confideration of the reverence due to the Deity, and includes remarks on profane fwearing, and every impropriety of fpeech and man