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his foot, “ What, Sir," says he, " are you turning “ effeminate?” Crantz, describing the kingdom of Norway, and the manners of the people, has the following reflection : "Robustissimos educat viros, “ qui, nullâ frugum luxuriâ moliti, sæpiùs impug“ nant alios quàm impugnantur*.” In the mountainous island of Rum, one of the Western Islands of Scotland, the corn produced serves the inhabitants but a few months in winter. The rest of the year they live on flesh, fish, and milk ; and' yet are healthy and long-lived. In the year 1768, a man died there aged 103, who was 50 years old before he ever tasted bread. This old man frequently harangued upon the plain fare of former times; finding fault with his neighbours for indulging in bread, and upbraiding them for toiling like slaves to produce such an unnecessary article of luxury. The 'inhabitants of Canada, before they were known to Europeans, were but thinly clothed in a bitter cold climate. They had no covering but a single skin, girded about them with a belt of leather. The coarse woollen cloth which they were taught to wear by the French, raised bitter lamentations in their old men for increase of luxury and decline of manners.

Thus, every one exclaims against the luxury of the present times, judging more favourably of the

past; *“ It produces a most robust race of men, who are ener* vated by no luxury of food, and are more prone to attack and harass their neighbours, than subjected to their at“ tacks."

past; as if what is luxury at present, would cease to be luxury when it becomes customary: What is the foundation of a sentiment so universal? In point of dignity, corporeal pleasures are the lowest of all that belong to our nature, and for that reason persons of delicacy dissemble the pleasure they have in eating and drinking * When corporeal pleasure is indulged to excess, it is not only low, but mean. But as, in judging of things that admit of degrees, comparison is the ordinary stand. ard; every refinement in corporeal pleasure beyond what is customary, is held to be a blameable excess, below the dignity of human nature. For that reason, every improvement in living is pro: nounced to be luxury while secent, and drops that character when it comes into common use. For the same reason, what is moderation in the capital, is esteemed luxury in a country-town. Doth lu. xury then depend entirely on comparison ? is there no other foundation for distinguishing moderation from excess? This will hardly be maintained.

This subject is rendered obscure by giving different meanings to the term luxury. A French writer holds every sort of food to be luxury but raw flesh and acorns, which were the original food of savages; and every sort of covering to be luxury bụt skins, which were their original cloth, ing. According to that definition, the plough, the spade, the loom, are all of them instruments of

Iị 2 * Elements of Criticism, vol. i. p. 356. edit. 5.

luxury, luxury ; in which view, he justly extols luxury to the skies. We are born naked, because we can clothe ourselves; and artificial clothing is to man as much in the order of nature, as hair or feathers are to other animals. But whatever accords to the common nature of man, is right, and for that reason cannot in a proper sense be termed luxury. Shoes are a refinement from walking barefoot ; and Voltaire, taking this refinement to be luxury, laughs at those who declaim against luxury. Let every man enjoy the privilege of giving his own meaning to words ; but when a man deviates sò far from their usual meaning, the neglect to define them is inexcusable. In common language and in common apprehension, luxury always implies a faulty excess; and upon that account, is condemned by all writers, such only excepted as affect to be singular.

Faulty excess is clearly one branch of the definition of luxury. Another is, that the excess must be habitual: a single act of intemperance, however faulty, is not denominated luxury: reiteration must be so frequent, as to become a confirmed habit.

Nor are these particulars all that enter into the definition of luxury. There are many pleasures, however intemperate or habitual, that are not branded with that odious name. Mental pleasure, such as arises from sentiment or reasoning, falls not within the verge of luxury, to whatever excess indulged. If to relieve merit in distress be luxury, it is only so in a metaphorical sense : nor is it deemed luxury in a damsel of fifteen to peruse love-novels from morning till evening. Luxury is confined to the external senses : nor does it belong to every one of these : the fine arts have no relation to luxury. A man is not even said to be luxurious, merely for indulging in dress, or in fine furniture. Hollinshed inveighs against drinkingglasses as an article of luxury.


At that rate, a house adorned with fine pictures or statues, would be an imputation on the proprietor. Thus, passing in review every pleasure of external sense, we find, that in proper language the term luxury is not applicable to any pleasure of the eye or ear. That term is confined to the pleasures of taste, touch, and smell, which appear as existing at the organ of sense, and upon that account are held to be merely corporeal *.

Having thus circumscribed our subject within its proper bounds, the important point that remains to be ascertained is, Whether we have any rule for determining what excess in corporeal pleasure may justly be denominated faulty About that point we are at no loss. Though our present life be a state of trial, yet our Maker has kindly indulged us in every pleasure that is not hurtful to the mind nor to the body; and therefore nó excess but what is hurtful falls under the censure of being luxurious : it is faulty, as a transgression of self-duty ; and, as such, is condemined by the moral sense. The most violent declaimer against luxury will not affirm, that bread is luxury, or a show-ball used for a pillow : these are innocent, because they do no harm. As little will it bé affirmed, that dwelling-houses, more capacious than those originally built, ought to be condemned as luxury; seeing they contribute to cheerfulness as well as to health. The plague, some centuries ago, made frequent visits to London, promoted by air stagnating in narrow streets and small houses. From the great fire anno 1666, when the houses and streets were enlarged, the plague has not once been in London.

of See Elements of Criticism, Introduction.

Ii 3

Man consists of soul and body, so intimately connected, that the one cannot be at ease while the other suffers. In order to have mens sana in corpore sano, it is necessary to study the health of both: bodily health supports the mind; and nothing tends more than cheerfulness to support the body, even under a disease. To preserve this complicated machine in order, certain exercises are proper for the body, and certain for the mind; which ought never to incroach the one on the other. Much motion and bodily exercise tend to make us robust; but, in the mean time, the mind is starved: much reading and reflection fortify thre mind, but in the mean time, the body is starved. Nor is this all: excess in either is destructive to


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