« НазадПродовжити »
diseases multiplied, and physic became a liberal profession.
With respect to exercise, the various machines that have been invented for executing every sort of work, render bodily strength of less importance than formerly. This change is favourable to mental operations, without hurting bodily health. The travelling on horseback, though a less vigorous exertion of strength than walking, is not luxury, because it is a healthful exercise. I dare not say so much for wheel-carriages : a spring-coach, rolling along a smooth road, gives no exercise ; or so little, as to be preventive of no disease : it tends to enervate the body, and, in some measure, also the mind. The increase of wheel-carriages within a century is a pregnant proof of the growth of luxurious indolence. During the reign of James I. the English judges rode to Westminster on horseback, and probably did so for many years after his death. Charles I. issued a proclamation, prohibiting hackney-coaches to be used in London, except by those who travel at least three miles out of town. At the Restoration, Charles II. made his public entry into London on horseback, between his two brothers, Dukes of York and Gloucester. We have Rushworth for our voucher, that in London, not above a hundred years ago, there were but twenty hackney-coaches; which did not ply on the streets, þut were kept at home till called for. He adds,
that the King and council published a proclamation against them, because they raised the price of provender upon the King, nobility, and gentry. At present, 1000 hackney-coaches ply on the streets of London; beside a great number of stage-coaches for travelling from London to all parts of the kingdom. The first coach with glasses in France was brought from Brussels to Paris, anno 1660, by the Prince of Condé. Sedan-chairs were not known in England before the year 1634. Cookery and coaches have reduced the military spirit of the English nobility and gentry to a languid státe: the former, by overloading the body, has infected them with dispiriting ailments; the latter, by fostering ease and indolence, have banished labour, the only antidote to such ailments *. Too great indulgence in the fine arts consumes part of the time that ought to be employed on the important duties of life: but the fine arts, even when too much indulged, produce one good effect, which is, to soften and humanize our manners : nor do they harm the body, if they relax ' not that degree of exercise which is necessary for supporting it in health and vigour.
“ J'ai toujours vu ceux qui voyageoient dans de bonnes voitures bien douces, rêveurs, tristes, grondans ou souffrans ; et les piétons toujours gais, legers, et contens de tout. Combien le cour rit quand on approche du gite ! Combien un re. pas grossier parôit favoureux ! avec quel plaisir on se repose à table ! Quel bon sommeil on fait dans un mauvais lit!" Rousseau Emile.
The enervating effects of luxury upon the body, are, above all, remarkable in war. The officers of Alexander's army were soon tainted with Asiatic manners. Most of them, after bathing, had servants for rubbing them, and, instead of plain oil, used precious ointments. Leonatus, in particular, commissioned from Egypt the powder he used when he wrestled, which loaded several camels, Alexander reproved them mildly : “wonder that
men who have undergone such fatigues in war,
are not taught by experience, that labour pro“ duces sweeter and sounder sleep than indolence, “ To be voluptuous is an abject and slavish state. “ How can a man take care of his horse, or keep “ his armour bright, who disdains to employ his “ own hands upon what is dearest to him, his own
With respect to the mind in particular, manifold are the pernicious effects of luxury. Corporeal pleasures are all of them selfish: and, when mucli indulged, tend to make selfishness the leading principle. Voluptuousness accordingly, relaxing every sympathetic affection, brings on a beastly selfishness, which leaves nothing of man but the external figure. Luxury, beside, renders the mind so effeminate, as to be subdued by every distress : the slightest pain, whether of mind or body, is a real evil: and any higher degree becomes a torture.
The . Plutarch.
The French are far gone in that disease. Pictures of deep distress, which attract English spectators, are to the French unsupportable: their aversion to pain overcomes the attractive power of sympathy, and debars from the stage every distress that makes a deep impression. The British are gradually sink, ing into the same weakness : Venice Preserved collects not such numbers as it did originally; and would scarce be endured, were not our sympathy blunted by familiarity ? a new play in a similar tone would not take. The gradual decay of manhood in Britain, appears from their funeral rites, Formerly the deceased were attended to the grave by relations and friends of both sexes; and the day of their death was preserved in remembrance, with solemn lamentation, as the day of their birth was with exhilarating cups. In England, a man was first relieved from attending his deceased wife to the grave ; and afterward from attending his deceased children ; and now such effeminacy of mind prevails there, that, upon the last groan, the deceased, abandoned by every relation, is delivered to an undertaker by profession, who is left at leisure to mimic the funeral rites. In Scotland, such refinement has not yet taken place : a man is indeed excused from attending his wife to the grave; but he performs that duty in person to every other relation, his children not excepted, I am told, that people of high fashion in England begin to leave the care of their sick relations to hired nurses ; and think they do their duty in making short visits from time to time.
Hitherto I have considered luxury with respect to those only who are infected with it; and, did its poison spread no wider, the case perhaps would be the less deplorable. But unhappily, where luxury prevails, the innocent suffer with the guilty. A man of economy, whether a merchant, or a manufacturer, lays up a stock for his children, and adds useful members to the state. A man, on the contrary, who lives above his fortune, or his profits, accustoms his children to luxury, and abandons them to poverty when he dies. Luxury, at the same time, is a great enemy to population : it enhances the expence of living, and confines many to the bachelor-state. Luxury of the table, in particular, is remarkable for that effect: “L'homme riche met toute
sa gloire à consommer, toute sa grandeur à per“ dre, en un jour à sa table, plus de biens qu'il “ n'en faudroit pour faire subsister plusieurs fa“ milles. Il abuse également et des animaux et des “ hommes : dont le reste demeure affamé, languit “ dans la misère, et ne travaille que pour satisfaire " à l'appétit immodéré, et à la vanité encore plus ", insatiable, de cet homme ; qui detruisant les