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was divided into many small republics, which, by mutual hatred, usual between nations in close neighbourhood, became ferocious and bloody. These republics being united under the Great Duke of Tuscany, enjoyed the sweets of peace in a mild government. That comfortable revolution, which made the deeper impression by a retrospect to recent calamities, roused the national spirit, and produced ardent application to arts and literature. The restoration of the royal family in England, which put an end to a cruel and envenomed civil war, promoted improvements of every kind : arts and industry made a rapid progress among the people, though left to themselves by a weak and fluctuating administration. Had the nation, upon that favourable turn of fortune, been blessed with a succession of able and virtuous princes, to what a height might not arts and sciences have been carried! In Scotland, a favourable period for improvements was the reign of the first Robert, after shaking off the English yoke: but the domineering spirit of the feudal system rendered abortive every attempt. The restoration of the royal family, mentioned above, animated the legislature of Scotland to promote manufactures of various kinds : but in vain ; for the union of the two crowns had introduced despotism into Scotland, which sunk the genius of the people, and rendered them heartless and indolent. Liberty, indeed, and many other advantages, were procured to them by the union of the two kingdoms; but these salutary effects were long suspended by mutual enmity, such as commonly subsists between neighbouring nations. Enmity wore away gradually, and the eyes of the Scots were opened to the advantages of their present condition : the national spirit was roused to emulate and to excel: talents were exerted, hitherto latent; and Scotland, at present, makes a figure in arts and sciences, above what it ever made while an independent kingdom *.
Another cause of activity and animation, is the being engaged in some important action of doubtful event, a struggle for liberty, the resisting a potent invader, or the like. Greece, divided into small states, frequently at war with each other, advanced literature and the fine arts to unrivalled perfection. The Corsicans, while engaged in a perilous war for defence of their liberties, exerted a vigorous national spirit: they founded an university for arts and sciences, a public library, and a
* In Scotland, an innocent bankrupt imprisoned for debt, obtains liberty by a process termed cessio honorum. From the year 1694 to the 1744, there were but twenty-four processes of that kind, which shows how languidly trade was carried on while the people remained ignorant of their advantages by the union. From that time to the year 1971, there have been thrice that number every year, taking one year with another; an evident proof of the late rapid progress of commerce in Scotland. Every one is roused to venture his small stock, though every one cannot be successful,
public bank. After a long stupor during the dark ages of Christianity, arts and literature revived among the turbulent states of Italy. The royal Society in London, and the Academy of Sciences in Paris, were both of them instituted after civil wars that had animated the people, and roused their activity.
An useful art is seldom lost, because it is in constant practice. And yet, though many useful arts were in perfection during the reign of Augustus Cæsar, it is amazing how ignorant and stupid men became, after the Roman empire was shattered by northern barbarians : they degenerated into savages. So ignorant were the Spanish Christians during the eighth and nirth centuries, that Alphonsus the Great, King of Leon, was necessitated to employ Mahometan preceptors for educating his
Even Charlemagne could not sign his name: nor was he singular in that respect, being kept in countenance by several neighbouring prin
As the progress of arts and sciences toward perfection is greatly promoted by emulation, nothing is more fatal to an art or science than to remove that spur, as where some extraordinary genius appears who soars above rivalship. Mathematics seem to be declining in Europe : the great Newton, haying surpassed all the ancients, has not left to the moderns even the faintest hope of equalling him i and what man will enter the lists who despairs of victory?
In early times, the inventors of useful arts were remembered with fervent gratitude. Their history became fabulous by the many incredible exploits attributed to them. Diodorus Siculus mentions the Egyptian tradition of Osiris, that with a numerous army he traversed every inhabited part of the globe, in order to teach men the culture of wheat and of the vine. Beside the impracticability of supporting a numerous army where husbandry is unknown, no army could enable Osiris to introduce wheat or wine among stupid savages who live by hunting and fishing; which probably was the case, in that early period, of all the nations he visited.
In a country thinly peopled, where even necessary arts want hands, it is common to see one person exercising more arts than one : in several parts of Scotland, the same man serves as a physician, surgeon, and apothecary. In a very populous country, even simple arts are split into parts, and there is an artist for each part : in the populous towns of ancient Egypt, a physician was confined to a single disease. In mechanic arts, that mode is excellent. As a hand confined to a single operation becomes both expert and expeditious, a mechanic art is perfected by having its different operations distributed among the greatest.number of hands : many hands are employed in making a watch ; and a still greater number in manufacturing a web of woollen cloth. Various arts or operations car
their mouths like those of Balaam and Caiaphas *. James I. of Britain dedicates his declaration against Vorstius to our Saviour, in the following words: “ To the honour of our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ, the eternal son of the eternal Fa
ther, the only Theanthropos, mediator, and re“ conciler of mankind ; in sign of thankfulness, his
most humble and obliged servant, James, by the
grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, “ and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, doth dedi
cate and consecrate this his Declaration." Funeral orations were some time ago in fashion. Regnard, who was in Stockholm about the year 1680, heard a funeral oration at the burial of a servantmaid. The priest, after mentioning her parents and the place of her birth, praised her as an excellent cook, and enlarged upon every ragout that she had made in perfection. She had but one fault, he said, which was the salting her dishes too much; but that she showed thereby her prudence, of which salt is the symbol ; a stroke of wit that probably was admired by the audience. Funeral orations are out of fashion: the futility of a trite panegyric purchased with money, and indecent flattery in circumstances that require sincerity and truth, could not long stand against improved taste. The yearly feast of the ass that carried the mother of God into Egypt, was a most ridiculous farce, high
* Father Paul's History of Trent, lib. i.