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both; for exercise too violent, whether of mind or body, wears the machine. Indolence, on the other hand, relaxes the machine, and renders it weak or itseless. Bodily indolence breeds the gout, the gravel, and many other diseases : nor is mental indolence less pernicious, for it breeds peevishness and pusillanimity. Thus health, both of mind and body, is best preserved by moderate exercise. And hence a general proposition, That every indulgence in corporeal pleasure, which favours either too violent or too languid exercise, whether of mind or body, is hurtful, and consequently is luxury in its proper sense.
It is scarce necessary to be added, that every such indulgence is condemned by the moral sense ; of which every man can bear testimony from what he himself feels.
Too great indulgence in corporeal pleasure seldom prompts violent exercise; but instances are without number, of its relaxing even that moderate degree of exercise which is healthful both to mind and body. This, in particular, is the case of too great indulgence in eating or drinking : such indulgence, creating a habitual appetite for more than nature requires, loads the stomach, depresses the spirits; and brings on a habit of list. lesness and inactivity, which renders men cowardly and effeminate *. And what does the epicure gain
by • Luxury and selfishness render men cowards. People who are attached to riches or to sensual pleasure, cannot think, by such excess? In a grand palace, the master occupies not a greater space than his meanest domestic; and brings to his most sumptuous feast perhaps less appetite than any of his guests. Satiety withal makes him lose the relish even of rarities, which afford to others a poignant pleasure. Listen to a sprightly writer handling this subject. " Le peuple ne s'ennuie guere, sa vie est active; “ si ses amusemens ne sont pas variés, ils sont
rares; beaucoup de jours de fatigue lui font goų
ter avec délices quelques jours de fêtes. Une “ alternative de longs trauvaux et de courts loisirs “ tient lieu d'assaisonnement aux plaisirs de son “ état. Pour les riches, leur grand fleau c'est “ l'ennui : au sein de tant d'amusemens rassem“ blés à grands fraix, au milieu de tant de gens
concourans à leur plaire, l'ennui les consume et “ les tue; ils passent leur vie à le fuir et à en
être atteints; ils sont accablés de son poids insupportable ; les femmes, sur-tout, qui ne
savent plus s'occuper, ni s'amuser, en sont dé“ vorées sous le nom de vapeurs. Rousseau, Emile. What enjoyment, then, have the opulent above others ? Let them bestow their riches in making others happy : benevolence will double their own happiness ; first, in the direct act of do
ing without horror, of abandoning them. A virtuous man cansiders himself as placed here in order to obey the will of his Maker : he performs his duty, and is ready to quit his post upon the first summons,
ing good; and next, in reflecting upon the good they have done, the most delicate of all feasts.
Had the English continued Pagans, they would have invented a new deity to preside over cookery. I
say it with regret, but must say it, that a luxurious table, covered with every dainty, seems to be their favourite idol. A minister of state never withstands a feast; and the link that unites those in opposition, is the cramming one another * I shall not be surprised to hear, that the cramming a mistress has become the most fashionable mode of courtship. Luxury in eating is not unknown in their universities; the only branch of education that seldom proves abortive. It has not escaped observation, that between the 1740 and 1770, no fewer than six Mayors of London died in office, a greater number than in the preceding 500 years : such havoc doth luxury in eating make among the sons of Albiont. How different the manners of their forefathers ! Bonduca their Queen, ready to engage the Romans in a pitched battle, encouraged her army with a pathetic speech, urging in particular the following consideration : “ The great “ advantage we have over them is, that they can“ not, like us, bear hunger, thirst, heat, nor cold, “ They must have fine bread, wine, and warm “ houses: every herb and root satisfies our hun
* This was composed in the year 1770.
+ Suicide is not influenced by foggy air ; for it is not more frequent in the fens of Lincoln or Essex, than in other parts of England. A habit of daily excess in eating and drinking, with intervals of downy ease, relax every mental spring. The man flags in his spirits, becomes languid and low : nothing moves him : every connection with the world is dissolved : 2 tædium vitæ ensues; and then
ger; water supplies the want of wine ; and every tree is to us a warm house (a) *.”
If it should be asserted, that no excess in eating or drinking is better entitled to be termed luxury. than the universal use of fermented liquors, rejecting water entirely; the proposition would be ridiculed, as proceeding from some low-spirited ascetic. Water, it will be said, is indeed the ori. ginal drink of animals, and a wholesome drink it is. But why deny to the ingenuity of man improvements in nourishment, as well as in habitation and clothing? I grant there can be no reasonable objection to fermented liquors, used as a delicacy, by people of easy fortune. But what I condemn, is their being the sole drink of all ranks, not even excepting those who live on charity, Consider the quality of animal and vegetable food that can be produced on land employed entirely in raising vines, barley, and other materials of fermented liquors. The existence of inany thousands is annually prevented by that species of luxury
(a) Dion Cassius,
* Providence las provided the gout as a beacon on the rock of luxury to warn against it. But in vain : during distress, vows of temperance are made : during the intervals, these vows are forgot. Luxury has gained too much ground in this island, to be restrained by admonition.
The indulging in down-beds, soft pillows, and easy seats, is a species of luxury; because it tends to enervate the body, and to render it unfit for fa. tigue. Some London ladies employ an operator for pairing their nails. Two young women of high quality, who were sisters, employed a servánt with soft hands to raise them gently out of bed in a morning. Nothing less than all-powerful vanity can make such persons submit to the fatigues of a toilet: how can they ever think of submitting to the horrid pangs of child-bearing! In the hot climates of Asia, people of rank are rubbed and chaffed twice a day; which, beside being pleasant, is necessary for health, by moving the blood in a hot country, where sloth and indolence prevail. Thé Greeks and Romans were curried, bathed, and oiled, daily ; though they had not the same excuse for that practice: it was luxury in them, though not in the Asiatics.
Nations, where luxury is unknown, are troubled with few diseases, and have few physicians by profession. In the early ages of Rome, women and slaves were the only physicians, because vegetables were the chief food of the people; who beside were constantly employed in war or in husbandry, When luxury prevailed among the Romans, their