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INTRODUCTION. A cursory View of the prefent Political State of Europe,
concluded from page 280.
What remains to be faid of the other European States, may
be comprised in a very few words.
v Portugal, Wise from the severities she suffered from the last war she had with Spain, has been contented to observe a firm neu. trality, while all around her were engaged in war.- But such a langour there pervades every department, arising from a long continued erroneous system of finance and political regimen, that neither literature, commerce, agriculture, nor arts, have made those advances which are necessary to give energy to the minds of the people. The Roy. al Society of Lisbon, endeavour, by premiums, to turn the attention of the nation to some interesting subjects. But the effect of these have not yet been so great as could be wished. Should government cherith that fociety, and continue to send some of her ingenious youth to be educated in foreign parts, as has been, in a few cases, done, their ef. forts, though flow, may in time produce beneficial effects.
: Switzerland,— Savoy,--and Italy, All enjoy a state of profound tranquillity at present. Their eyes are turned towards France. The attention of the fove. reigns are all awake for their self-preservation,andeveryam:bitious project seems to befufpended. Theinhabitants of pro
perty in those states, which had mostconnection with France, of Geneva in particular, have experienced a sad reverse of fortune, from the revolution in France, for the present; and they dread the future consequences. Tempted by the high rate of interest that was held out to them in the French funds, they there lodged all the money they could come mand; for which, since the suspension of the former government, they have got nothing. This has reduced many wealthy families from opulence to extreme indigence; buit as the calamity is nearly universal, they bear with and endeavour to comfort each other. Rome trembles for herfafes ty: Avignon is ravished from her: The foundations of her power are shaken; and she looks around her, on every side, with the most fufpicious watchfulness. Nor are the other ftates in a situation greatly different. All open exertions, therefore, of despotic power, are suspended, and will probably never be again exercised...
The American States; Under the influence of Mr. Washington, who exhibits à character, that in the eyes of a refined Italian politician, would have appeared chimerical, are making large Itrides to correct the evils that originate from their local situation and political circumstances. While the people are young, and while virtuous principles in their governors, and virtuous habits can be found among the people, their energies may be sufficient to over-rule the influences of those political evils to which they are naturally exposed; but should this continue till industry begets wealth, and wealth luxury, and luxury corruption of manners, and corruption of manners . depravity of heart, what is to preserve the people from that
corruption that must be expected to arife in every government? They do not seem, as yet, to have turned their eyes to this side of the picture; otherwise provision would have been made to guard against it. The nation whose fafety depends on the virtue of its ruling powers alone, is in a very precarious state indeed. In this situation the American states are too much circumstanced : Wafha ington would perhaps have been the greatest character that has appeared in this or any other nation, had he had the fortitude to guard against this evil. . But it is so much more agreeable for an upright mind simply to doright himself, and diffuse immediate happiness around him,rather than to suspend that happiness by guarding against future contingencies of a disagreeable fort that is perhaps 100 great a facrifice to expect any man to be able to make.
It is much to be regreted, that the pressure of the present moment, added to the prejudices of the times, should have ever so far prevailed, as to oblige someofthese states to adopt a legal suspension of the payment of debts. I donot condemn this measure so much, because of its influence on commerce, and its exciting a distrust among other nations, though these are much greater political evils, than that which it was intended to remove: But it is because it tends to vitiate the moral principle, and to corrupt the heart of the people themfelves, that it merits the utmost severity ofreprehensionfrom the enlightened politician. In an infant state, every evil should be submitted to, rather than to allow the people to think it possible for any circumstance to give the smallest mark of toleration to a measure that had but the shadow of injuftice. I should not have been surprised to have seen this in an old corrupted government; but here they have begun where other states have ended.
East Indies. . Our territories in India are yet extenfive; and like a perfon who is on the eve of bankruptcy, to a superficial observer, they appear great and brilliant objects; but their remaining in our poffeffion, depends rather on the faults of others than our own exertions. Had not Tippoo Saib been a brutal monster, it is not impossible, but at this moment we should not have had a footing in India. His vices fight against him, and aid us. But every defeat adds to the strength of the native powers in India, and so soon as a man of talents and virtue shall appear among them, the European power in India muft cease. This is the unavoidable consequence that must ever result from the crooked policy engendered by vice and weakness, which has got footing in India under the name of state neceffity. This system, when once adopted, dissolves all human ties, and leaves nothing but fear as the principle of action. But fear engenders perfidy, that is continually ready to burst, before it gives any warning, on the head of the unworthy oppressor, or if that should fail, it serves as a principle of union, to connect together people of the most opposite characters and interests, in order most effectually to crush him. It is happy that heaven hath thus annexed punishment to guilt, which no more can be separated than the thadow from its substance.
." İNDEX INDICATORIUS. The editor borrows this phrase from a popular periodical work of long Itanding *. Under this head, he proposes from time to time to throw together fuch observations, culled from the letters of his correspondents, as seem to be deserving of notice; though they do not merit a separate publication in the form they have been fent; and to make such acknow. ledgments and remarks upon the communications fent, as appear to be more deserving notice, than those consigned to the blue covers of this work.
As the editor has been favoured with a great many communications, apparently from young writers, he begs leave to preface this department of his work, with a few general observations calculated for their benefit.
Young people are generally induced to write from one of two motives, viz, a desire to display their own talents, or a wish to communicate to others information concerning some particular, that they think will prove entertaining or useful to them.-Too often, early in life, the first of these motives is the principal stimulus; and when that is the case, ir seldom fails that their fond hopes are frustrated. Writing is an art that re. quires practice to bring it to perfection. This practice beginners must always want; on which account, their first productions, in most cases, are extremely disgusting to men of tafte; so that unless there be fome basis of useful disquisition at the bottom to atone for this disguft, inttead of being admired, they are only despised : But if an ingenious youth feels his mind strongly impressed with some leading ideas, which he wishes to deve lope to others, he will, in this case, for the most part express himself with a becoming diffidence, that conciliates good will; and on account of the orie ginal thoughts that occur, every good-natured reader will be disposed to overlook the little inacuracies that must be expected to arise from inexperience. When a young man is therefore about to communicate his sentiments in any way to the public, let him first ak himself this simple quela tion : “Is it merely because I wish to shine, that I take up the pen? Or do I feel certain ideas in my mind, that I do not perceive are familiar to others, which I Thould have a pleasure in communicating to them, as I think they will contribute either to their welfare, emolument, or fatisfaction of mind?” If the first queftion be answered in the affirmative, let him abandon his project at the time, and I will answer for it he ne. ver will have reason to repent of it. But if his mind fairly acquits him of vanity, let him select for a subject that which impreffes his mind the most forcibly and frequently; let him think of it often before he puts his thoughts to paper; and when at last he does write, let him try to express himself in the plainest language, he can, without ornamental flourishes, or an attempt at the frippery of fine writing, which usually, at a tender age, makes so strong an impression on the imagination.
Let those who feel a predeliction for verse, be informed, that among all the trifling acquirements a young person can aim at, that of making : * The Gentlemen's Magazine. .? VOL. I.
rhimes, is one of the easiest and at the same time the most infignificant. Young people, in general, think it a proof of extraordinary ge nius, if they can put two or three lines together, that shall run, in any measure, like verles; and whenever they can do this, they think to much of it, as never to be fatisfied, till they fee it in print. In this refpe&, they judgè erroneoully. The faculty of meafuring a few fyllables, is a thing that any perfon, with á tolerably just ear, can easily attain. But a poetic talent, which confifts in a lively imagination, an ardent vigour of mind, a quick nefs of perception, and a faculty of combining objects together, fo as to form new and striking images, is as rare as the other is common; but it is this last alone, which forms the poet. Would our youthful rhimers attend to this distinction, it would check their vanity in fome degree, and make them hefitate, before they became candidates for the title of poets, merely because they had made a few smooth and uninteresting lines.' * These general remarks premised, the editor proceeds to the task he has assigned to himself under this department.
Piator, who writes from Berwick, as if on his return from a tour through Scotland, complains of the low ftate as to food and wages of the labourers in Scotland, and contends, with great warmth, that their wag. es should be augmented. But has he adverted to the fituation of thofe who have the wages to pay? Before reformations of this sort can be prudently attempted, many particulars require to be adverted to, that do not occur to a hasty traveller. And in every country, where perfect freedom is allowed to individuals, to follow what business they incline, things of this fort will inevitably find their natural level, without the regulating efforts of any man. 'I do
T. offers an hypothesis concerning the human soul that is not intelligible to us; which, for that reason, we decline offering to our readers, Metaphisical disquisitions, unless very short and very clear, will be sparingly admitted, as tending only to engender difputes, without leading to any useful conclusions.
7. Sii- ville proposes as a query, whether, if a perforation were made through the centre of this earth, and a stone dropped from the surface of the globe into that vacuity; the stone, by its increased velocity, when'it reached the centre, would not have acquired such an impetus, as to enable it to rise, on the other side, as at first; and so on continue vibrating for ever? 2. He asks, what is the nature of the gelatinous substance, called by the country people, a fhot ftar?
Verus observes, by way of answer to a remark in The Mirror, that Dean Swift did not know the favourable opinion the Duchess of Marlborough had entertained of the author of Gulliver's Travels, otherwise it was not probable, he would have left a fevere invective against her to be published after his death. But in this conjecture, he alleges the elegant writer of that efTay has been mistaken; for Swift was really informed of this circumstance by his friend Gay, who writes thus to Swift, Anth November, 1726.' “ The Duchess dowager of Malborough is in Baptures with it, (Gulliver's Travels). She says she can dream of nothing Alle since the read it. She declares, that the hath now found out that