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virtue and of religion among the rest) may glow with proportionable ardour. Indeed the truest virtue is that which is least susceptible of contamination from its opposite. I may

admire a Raphael, and yet not swoon at sight of a daub. Why should there not be the same taste in morals as in pictures or poems? Granting that vice has more votaries here, at least it has fewer inercenary ones, and this is no trifling advantage. As to manners, the Catholics must be allowed to carry it over all the world. The better sort not only say nothing to give you pain; they say nothing of others that it would give them pain to hear repeated. Scandal and tittle-tattle are long banished from good society. After all, to be wise is to be humane. What would our English blue-stockings say to this ? The fault and the excellence of Italian society is, that the shocking or disagreeable is not supposed to have an existence in the nature of things*.

The dirt and comparative want of conveniences among Catholics is often attributed to the number of their Saints' days and festivals, which divert them from labour, and give them an idle and disorderly turn of mind.

ESSAY XVII.

THE NEW SCHOOL OF REFORM.

ESSAY XVII.

THE NEW SCHOOL OF REFORM;

A DIALOGUE BETWEEN A RATIONALIST AND A

SENTIMENTALIST.

R. What is it you so particularly object to this school? Is there any thing so very obnoxious in the doctrine of Utility, which they profess? Or in the design to bring about the greatest possible good by the most efficacious and disinterested means?

S. Disinterested enough, indeed: since their plan seems to be to sacrifice every individual comfort for the good of the whole. Can they find out no better way of making human life run smooth and pleasant, than by drying up the brain and curdling the blood ? I do not want society to resemble a Living Skeleton, whatever these “ Job's Comforters" may do. They are like the fox in the fable—they have no feeling themselves, and would persuade others to do without it. Take away the dulce of the poet,

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and I do not see what is to become of the utile. It is the common error of the human mind, of forgetting the end in the means.

R. I see you are at your Sentimentalities again. Pray, tell me, is it not their having applied this epithet to some of your favourite speculations, that has excited this sudden burst of spleen against them?

S. At least I cannot retort this phrase on those printed circulars which they throw down areas and fasten under knockers. But pass on for that. Answer me then, what is there agreeable or ornamental in human life that they do not explode with fanatic rage? What is there sordid and cynical that they do not eagerly catch at? What is there that delights others that does not disgust them? What that disgusts others with which they are not delighted ? I cannot think that this is owing to philosophy, but to a sinister bias of mind; inasmuch as a marked deficiency of temper is a more obvious way of accounting for certain things than an entire superiority of understanding. The Ascetics of old thought they were doing God good service by tormenting themselves and denying others the most innocent amusements. Who doubts now that in this (armed as they were with texts and authorities and awful denunciations) they

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