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What must I do? (he cries). What ? (says his lord,)
Resolved for sea, the slaves thy baggage pack,
To be thy lord ? Take one; and one refuse. When a government flourishes in conquests, and is secure from foreign attacks, it naturally falls into all the pleasures of luxury; and as these pleasures are very expensive, they put those who are addicted to them
raising fresh supplies of money, by all the methods of rapaciousness and corruption; so that avarice and luxury very often become one complicated principle of action, in those whose hearts are wholly set upon ease, magnificence, and pleasure. The most elegant and correct of all the Latin historians observes, that in his time, when the most formidable states of the world were subdued by the Romans, the republic sunk into those two vices of a quite different nature, luxury and avarice; and accordingly describes Catiline as one who coveted the wealth of other men, at the same time that he squandered away his
This observation on the commonwealth, when it was in its height of power and riches, holds good of all governments that are settled in a state of ease and prosperity. At such times men naturally endeavour to outshine one another in pomp and splendour, and having no fears to alarm them from abroad, indulge themselves in the enjoyment of all the pleasures they can get into their possession ; which naturally produces avarice, and an immoderate pursuit after wealth and riches.
As I was humouring myself in the speculation of these two great principles of action, I could not forbear throwing my thoughts into a little kind of allegory or fable, with which I shall here present my reader.
There were two very powerful tyrants engaged in a perpetual war against each other: the name of the first was Luxury, and of the second Avarice. The aim of each of them was no less than universal monarchy over the hearts of man
Luxury had many generals under him, who did him great service, as Pleasure, Mirth, Pomp, and Fashion. Avarice was likewise very strong in his officers, being faithfully served by Hunger, Industry, Care, and Watchfulness: he had likewise a privy-counsellor who was always at his elbow, and whispering something or other in his ear: the name of this privy-counsellor was Poverty. As Avarice conducted himself by the counsels of Poverty, his antagonist was entirely guided by the dictates and advice of Plenty, who was his first counsellor and minister of state, that concerted all his measures for him, and never departed out of his sight. While these two great rivals were thus contending for empire, their conquests were very various. Luxury got possession of one heart, and Avarice of another. The father of a family would often range himself under the banners of Avarice, and the son under those of Luxury. The wife and husband would often declare themselves on the two different parties; nay, the same person
often side with one in his youth, and revolt to the other in his old age. Indeed, the wise men of the world stood peuter: but, alas ! their numbers were not considerable. At length, when these two potentates had wearied themselves with waging war upon one another, they agreed upon an interview, at which neither of their counsellors were to be present. It is said that Luxury began the parley, and after having represented the endless
state of war in which they were engaged, told his enemy,
with a frankness of heart which is natural to him, that he believed they two should be very good friends, were it not for the instigations of Poverty, that pernicious counsellor, who made an ill use of his ear, and filled him with groundless apprehensions and prejudices. To this Avarice replied, that he looked upon Plenty (the first minister of his
antagonist) to be a much more destructive counsellor than Poverty, for that he was perpetually suggesting pleasures, banishing all the necessary cautions against want, and consequently undermining those principles on which the government of Avarice was founded. At last, in order to an accommodation, they agreed upon this preliminary ; that each of them should immediately dismiss his privy-counsellor. When things were thus far adjusted towards a peace, all other differences were soon accommodated, insomuch, that for the future they resolved to live as good friends and confederates, and to share between them whatever conquests were made on either side. For this reason, we now find Luxury and Avarice taking possession of the same heart, and dividing the same person between them. To which I shall only add, that since the discarding of the counsellors above-mentioned, Avarice supplies Luxury in the room of Plenty, as Luxury prompts Avarice in the place of Poverty.
No. 56. FRIDAY, MAY 4.
Felices errore suo
Lucan. The Americans believe that all creatures have souls, not only men and women, but brutes, vegetables, nay, even the most inanimate things, as stocks and stones. They believe the same of all the works of art, as of knives, boats, lookingglasses : and that as any of these things perish, their souls go into another world, which is habited by the ghosts of men and women. For this reason they always place by the corpse of their dead friend a bow and arrows, that he may make use of the souls of them in the other world, as he did of their wooden bodies in this. How absurd soever such an opinion as this may appear, our European philosophers have maintained several notions altogether as improbable. Some of Plato's followers in particular, when they talk of the world
of ideas, entertain us with substances and beings no less extravagant and chimerical. Many Aristotelians have likewise spoken as unintelligibly of their substantial forms. I shall only instance Albertus Magnus, who in his dissertation upon the loadstone, observing that fire will destroy its magnetic virtues, tells us that he took particular notice of one as it lay glowing amidst an heap of burning coals, and that he perceived a certain blue vapour to arise from it, which he believed might be the substantial form, that is, in our West Indian phrase, the soul of the loadstone.
There is a tradition among the Americans, that one of their countrymen descended in a vision to the great repository of souls, or, as we call it here, to the other world ; and that
upon his return he gave his friends a distinct account of everything he saw among those regions of the dead. A friend of mine, whom I have formerly mentioned, prevailed upon one of the interpreters of the Indian kings, to inquire of them, if possible, what tradition they have among them of this matter; which, as well as he could learn by those many questions which he asked them at several times, was in substance as follows.
The visionary, whose name was Marraton, after having travelled for a long space under an hollow mountain, arrived at length on the confines of this world of spirits; but could not enter it by reason of a thick forest made
of bushes, brambles, and pointed thorns, so perplexed and interwoven with one another, that it was impossible to find a passage through it. Whilst he was looking about for some track or path-way that might be worn in any part of it, he saw an ħuge lion couched under the side of it, who kept his eye upon him in the same posture as when he watches for his prey. The Indian immediately started back, whilst the lion rose with a spring, and leaped towards him. Being wholly destitute of all other weapons, he stooped down to take up an huge stone in his hand: but to his infinite surprise grasped nothing, and found the supposed stone to be only the apparition of one. If he was disappointed on this side, he was as much pleased on the other, when he found the lion, which
, had seized on his left shoulder, had no power to hurt him, and was only the ghost of that ravenous creature which it appeared to be. He no sooner got rid of his impotent enemy, but he marched up to the wood, and after having surveyed it for some time, endeavoured to press into one part of it that was a little thinner than the rest ; when again, to his great surprise, he found the bushes made no resistance, but that he walked through briers and brambles with the same ease as through the open air; and, in short, that the whole wood was nothing else but a wood of shades. He immediately concluded, that this huge thicket of thorns and brakes was designed as a kind of fence or quick-set hedge to the ghosts it enclosed ; and that probably their soft substances might be torn by these subtle points and prickles, which were too weak to make any impressions in flesh and blood, With this thought he resolved to travel through this intricate wood; when by degrees he felt a gale of perfumes breathing upon him, that grew stronger and sweeter in proportion as he advanced. He had not proceeded much farther when he observed the thorns and briers to end, and give place to a thousand beautiful green trees covered with blos- . soms of the finest scents and colours, that formed a wilderness of sweets, and were a kind of lining to those ragged scenes which he had before passed through. As he was coming out of this delightful part of the wood, and entering upon the plains it enclosed, he saw several horsemen rushing by him, and a little while after heard the cry of a pack of dogs. He had not listened long before he saw the apparition of a milk-white steed, with a young man on the back of it, advancing upon full stretch after the souls of about an hundred beagles that were hunting down the ghost of an hare, which ran away before them with an unspeakable swiftness. As the man on the milk-white steed came by him, he looked upon
very attentively, and found him to be the young prince Nicharagua, who died about half a year before, and by reason of his great virtues was at that time lamented over all the western parts of America.
He had no sooner got out of the wood, but he was entertained with such a landskip of ffowery plains, green meadows, running streams, sunny hills, and shady vales, as were not to be represented by his own expressions, nor, as he said, by the conceptions of others. This happy region was peopled with innumerable swarms of spirits, who applied themselves to exercises and diversions according as their fancies led them. Some of them were tossing the figure of a
1 But.] The comparative adverb requires “than."