Зображення сторінки


spoken of, than 'twill be asked, ' Who has answered it f or, 1 When is there an answer to come out?' Now the answer, as our gentleman knows, must needs be newer than the book. And the newer a thing is, the more fashionable still, and the genteeler the subject of discourse. For this the bookseller knows how to fit our gentleman to a nicety; for he has commonly an answer ready bespoke, and perhaps finished by the time his new book comes abroad. And 'tis odds but our fashionable gentleman, who takes both together, may read the latter first, and drop the other for good and all." —Shaftksbibt's Characteristics, vol. 3, p. 269.

And of Men of Letters.

"In our nation, and especially in our present age, whilst wars, debates, and public convulsions, turn our minds so wholly upon business and affairs; the better geniuses being in a manner necessarily involved in the active sphere, on which the general eye of mankind is so strongly fixed; there must remain in the theatre of wit, a sufficient vacancy of place; and the quality of actor upon that stage, must of consequence be very easily attainable, and at a low price of ingenuity or understanding.

"The persons, therefore, who are in possession of the prime parts in this deserted theatre, being suffered to maintain their ranks and stations in full ease, have naturally a good agreement and understanding with their fellow-AVits. Being indebted to the times for this happiness, that with so little industry or capacity they have been able to serve the nation with wit, and supply the place of real dispensers and ministers of the Muses' treasures; they must, necessarily, as they have any love for themselves, or fatherly affection for their works, conspire one with another, to preserve their common interest of indolence, and justify their remissness, uncorrectness, insipidness, and downright ignorance of all literate art or just poetic beauty:

Magna inter molles concordia.

"For this reason you see 'em mutually courteous, and benevolent; gracious and obliging, beyond measure; complimenting one another interchangeably, at the head of their works, in recommendatory verses, or in separate panegyrics, essays, and fragments of poetry, such as in the Miscellaneous Collections (our yearly retail of wit) we see curiously compacted, and accommodated to the relish of the world. Here the Tyrocinium of geniuses is annually displayed. Here, if you think fit, you may make acquaintance with the young offspring of wits, as they come up gradually under the old; with due courtship and homage, paid to those high predecessors of fame, in hope of being one day admitted, by turn, into the noble order, and made Wits by patent and authority.

"This is the young fry which you may see busily surrounding the grown Poet, or chief Play-house Author, at a coffee-house. They are his guards; ready to take up arms for him, if, by some presumptuous Critic he is at any time attacked. They are, indeed, the very shadows of their immediate predecessor, and represent the same features, with some small alteration, perhaps, for the worse. They are sure to aim at nothing above or beyond their master; and would on no account give him the least jealousy of their aspiring to any degree or order of writing above him. From hence that harmony and reciprocal esteem, which, on such a bottom as this, cannot fail of being perfectly well established among our Poets: The age, meanwhile, being after this manner hopefully provided, and secure of a constant and like succession of meritorious Wits, in every kind!" — Shaftesbubt's Characteristics, vol. 3, p. 273.

Jeremy Taylor's Popularity.

"We see the Reverend Doctor's [Bishop Taylor's] Treatises standing, as it were, in the front of this order of authors, and as the foremost of those Good Books used by the politest and most refined Devotees of •217


either sex. They maintain the principal place in the study of almost every elegant »nd high Divine. They stand in folios and other volumes, adorned with variety of pictores, gildings, and other decorations, on the advanced shelves in glass cupboards of the lady's closets. They are in use at all seasons, and for all places; as well for Church Service,as Closet Preparation; and, in short, may vie with any devotional books in British Christendom."Shaftesbury's Characteristic*, vol. 3, p. 327.

Flemish Merchants trading an borrowed Capital.

u Ipsa; sola; belli suspiciones inferiorem Germaniam evertunt, e& qu&d commercia impediant. Pulcberrinue enim ilia urbes et populosissimjE constant ex mercatoribus et opificibus; et plerique mercatores negotianturpecuniafcenori accepta, quod solet ibi esse gravissimum. Jam verb cum ibi cessent commercia, et mercatores non utantur opera opificum, qui fere omnes in diem vivunt, miseri homines non habent unde se et suam familiam sustentent; mercatores autem foenore exhauriuntur. Itaque infinita illorum hominum multitude coacta egestate jam patriam relinquit, et fere plures quam Gallos hie1 per plateas discursantes videmus; quamvis audiam adhuc plures conspici Roltomagi, et in rellquis urbibus maritimis Normanniae, ac etiam Londini in Anglift. Quid autem fiat si ad arma deveniatur, et Hispani pro arbitrio leges prsescribant? Ego doleo vicem illius cultissimse gentis, et qua; reliquas omnes notas industria

superare videtur." A.r>. 1566.—HuBeet Languet, Epistola ad Camerarium, p. 59.

Effects of Error.

"A UI9TAKE in fact, being no cause or ^gn of ill affection, can be no cause of vice. But a mistake of right, being the cause of

1 Lutetisc

unequal affection, must of necessity be the cause of vicious action, in every intelligent or rational being.

"But as there are many occasions where the matter of right may, even to the most discerning part of mankind, appear difficult, and of doubtful decision, 'tis not a slight mistake of this kind which can destroy the character of a virtuous or worthy man. But when, either through superstition or ill custom, there come to be very gross mistakes in the assignment or application of the affection; when the mistakes are either in their nature so gross, or so complicated and frequent, that a creature cannot well live in a natural state, nor with due affections, compatible with human society and civil life; then is the character of virtue forfeited." — Shaftesbuby's Characteristics, vol. 2, p. 34.


"A Pbovidence must be proved from what we see of Order in things present. We must contend for Order; and in this part chiefly, where Virtue is concerned. All must not be referred to a Hereafter. For, a disordered state, in which all present care of things is given up, Vice uncontrouled, and Virtue neglected, represents a very Chaos, and reduces us to the beloved Atoms, Chance, and Confusion, of the Atheists.

"What, therefore, can be worse done in the cause of A Deity, than to magnify disorder, and exaggerate (as some zealous people do) the misfortunes of Virtue, so far as to render it an unhappy choice with respect to this world? They err widely, who propose to turn men to the thoughts of a better world, by making 'em think so ill of this. For to declaim in this manner against Virtue to those of a looser faith, will make 'em the less believe a Deity, but not the more a Future State. Nor can it be thought sincerely that any man, by having the most elevated opinion of Virtue, and of the happiness it creates, was ever the less inclined to the belief of a Future State. On the con2\H


trary, it will ever be found, that as they who are favourers of Vice are always the least willing to hear of a future existence; so they who are in love with Virtue, are the readiest to embrace that opinion which renders it so illustrious, and makes its cause triumphant." — Shaftesbury's Characteristics, vol. 2, p. 277.

Argument of Theism from the illustration of a Ship.

"Imagine only some person entirely a stranger to navigation, and ignorant of the nature of the sea or waters; how great his astonishment would be, when, finding himself on board some vessel, anchoring at sea, remote from all land-prospect, whilst it was yet a calm, he viewed the ponderous machine firm and motionless in the midst of the smooth ocean, and considered its foundations beneath, together with its cordage, masts, and sails, above. How easily would he see the whole one regular structure, all things depending on one another; the uses of the rooms below, the lodgments and conveniences of men and stores. But being ignorant of the intent or design of all above, would he pronounce the masts and cordage to be useless and cumbersome, and for this reason condemn the frame, and despise the architect f O my friend! let us not thus betray our ignorance; but consider where we are, and in what a Universe. Think of the many parts of the vast machine in which we have so little insight, and of which it is impossible we should know the ends and uses; when, instead of seeing to the highest pendants, we see only some lower deck; and are, in this dark case of flesh, confined even to the hold, and meanest station of the vessel."—Shaftesbury's Characteristics, vol. 2, p. 289.

Babbage on the Cost of things.

"The cost of any article to the purchaser includes, besides supply and demand,

another element, which, though often of little importance, is in many cases of great consequence. The cost, to the purchaser, is the price he pays for any article, added to the cost of verifying the fact of its having that degree of goodness for which he contracts. In some cases the goodness of the article is evident on mere inspection: and in those cases there is not much difference of price at different shops. The goodness of loaf sugar, for instance, can be discerned almost at a glance; and the consequence is, that the price of it is so uniform, and the profit upon it so small, that no grocer is at all anxious to sell it; whilst on the other hand, tea, of which it is exceedingly difficult to judge, and which can be adulterated by mixture so as to deceive the skill even of a practised eye, has a great variety of different prices, and is that article which every grocer is most anxious to sell to his customers. The difficulty and expense of verification are, in some instances, so considerable, as to justify the deviation from well established principles. Thus it has been found so difficult to detect the adulteration of flour, and to measure its good qualities, that, contrary to the maxim that Government can generally purchase any article at a cheaper rate than that at which they can manufacture it, it has been considered more economical to build extensive flourmills (such as those at Deptford) and to grind their own corn, than to verify each sack purchased, and to employ persons in continually devising methods of detecting the new modes of adulteration which might be resorted to." — B Abb Age's Economy of Manufactures, p. 101.

Frauds in Clover Seed.

"Some years since, a mode of preparing old clover and trefoil seeds by a process called 1 doctoring,'1 became so prevalent as to excite the attention of the House of Commons. It appeared in evidence before a committee, that the old seed of the white

[blocks in formation]

clover was doctored by first wetting it slightly, and then drying it with the fumes of burning sulphur; and that the red clover had its colour improved by shaking it in a «aek with a small quantity of indigo; but this being detected after a time, the doctors then used a preparation of log-wood, fined by a little copperas, and sometimes by veriligris; thus at once improving the appearance of the old seed, and diminishing, if not destroying, its vegetative power already enfeebled by age. Supposing no injury had resulted to good seed so prepared, it was proved that, from the improved appearance, its market price would be enhanced by this process from five to twenty-five shillings a hundred-weight. But the greatest evil arose from the circumstance of these processes rendering old and worthless seed in appearance equal to the best. One witness tried some doctored seed, and found that not. above one grain in a hundred grew, and that those which did vegetate died away afterwards, whilst about eighty or ninety per cent, of good seed usually grows. The seed so treated was sold to retail dealers in the country, who of course endeavoured to purchase at the cheapest rate, and from them it got into the hands of the farmers; neither of these classes being at all capable of distinguishing the fraudulent from the genuine seed. Many cultivators, in consequence, diminished their consumption of the article; and others were obliged to pay a higher price to those who had skill to distinguish the mixed seed, and who had integrity and character to prevent them from dealing in it."—Babbage's Economy of Manufactures, p. 102.

Coal-merchants. "Five-Sixths of the London public is supplied by a class of middle-men who are called in the trade 'Brass-plate Coal-merchants:' these consist principally of merchants' clerks, gentlemen's servants, and others, who have no wharfs, but merely give

their orders to some true coal-merchant, who sends in the coals from his wharf. The brass-plate coal-merchant, of course, receives a commission for his agency, which is just so much loss to the consumer."—BabBAge's Economy of Manufactures, p. 124.

Mechanical Projectors their Ignorance and Presumption. "There is, perhaps, no trade or profession existing, in which there is so much quackery, so much ignorance of the scientific principles, and of the history of their own art, with respect to its resources and extent, as is to be met with amongst mechanical projectors. The self-constituted engineer, dazzled with the beauty of some perhaps really original contrivance, assumes his new profession with as little suspicion that previous instruction, that thought and painful labour, are necessary to its successful exercise, as does the statesman or the senator. Much of this false confidence arises from the impro]>er estimate which is entertained of the difficulty of invention in mechanics; and it is of great importance, to the individuals and to the families of those who are thus led away from more suitable pursuits, the dupes of their own ingenuity and of the popular voice, to convince both them and the public that the power of making new mechanical combinations is a possession common to a multitude of minds, and that it by no means requires talents of the highest order. It is still more important that they should be convinced that the great merit, and the great success, of those who have attained to eminence in such matters, was almost entirely due to the unremitted perseverance with which they concentrated upon the successful invention the skill and knowledge which years of study had matured." — Babbage's Economy of Manufactures, p. 212-13.

[blocks in formation]

Steam Possibilities for Iceland from its Hut Spring*.

"The discovery of the expansive power of steam, its condensation, and the doctrine of latent heat, has already added to the population of this small island, millions of hands. But the source of this power is not without limits, and the coal-mines of the world may ultimately be exhausted. Without adverting to the theory that new formations of that mineral are now depositing under the sea, at the estuaries of some of our larger rivers; without anticipating the application of other fluids requiring a less supply of caloric than water;—we may remark that the sea itself offers a perennial source of power hitherto almost unapplied. The tides, twice in each day, raise a vast mass of water, which might be made available for driving machinery. But supposing heat still to remain necessary when the exhausted state of our coal-fields renders it expensive,—long before that period arrives, other methods will probably have been invented for producing it. In some districts, there are springs of hot water, which have flowed for centuries unchanged in temperature. In many parts of the island of Ischia, by deepening the sources of the hot springs but a few feet, the water boils; and there can be little doubt that, by boring a short distance, steam of high pressure would issue from the orifice. In Iceland, the sources of heat are still more plentiful; and their proximity to large masses of ice, seems almost to point out the future destiny of that island. The ice of its glaciers may enable its inhabitants to liquefy the gases with the least expenditure of mechanical force; and the heat of its volcanoes may supply the power necessary for their condensation. Thus in a future age, power may become the staple commodity of the Icelanders, and of the inhabitants of other volcanic districts; and possibly the very process by which they will procure this article of exchange for the luxuries of happier climates, may, in some measure, tame

the tremendous element which occasionally devastates their provinces." — Babbaqe's Economy of Manufacture/, p. 317.

Religious Conclusions from Philosophy.

"In whatever light we examine the triumphs and achievements of our species over the creation submitted to its power, we explore new sources of wonder. But if science has called into real existence the visions of the poet, — if the accumulating knowledge of ages has blunted the sharpest and distanced the loftiest of the shafts of the satirist,—the philosopher has conferred on the moralist an obligation of surpassing weight. In unveiling to him the living miracles which teem in rich exuberance around the minutest atom, as well as throughout the largest masses of ever-active matter, he has placed before him resistless evidence of immeasurable design. Surrounded by every form of animate and inanimate existence, the sun of science has yet penetrated but through the outer fold of Nature's majestic robe; but if the philosopher were required to separate, from amongst those countless evidences of creative power, one being, the masterpiece of its skill; and from that being to select one gift, the choicest of all the attributes of life ;—turning within his own breast, and conscious of those powers which have subjugated to his race the external world, and of those higher powers by which he has subjugated to himself that creative faculty which aids his faltering conceptions of a deity,—the humble worshipper at the altar of truth would pronounce that being,— man; that endowment,—human reason.

"But however large the interval that separates the lowest from the highest of those sentient beings which inhabit our planet, all the results of observation, enlightened by all the reasonings of the philosopher, combine to render it probable that, in the vast extent of creation, the proudest attribute of our race is but, per

« НазадПродовжити »