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* IN this place our author introduces a paper intituled a City Night-piece, with the following motto from Martial,
Ille dolet vere, qui fine tefte dolet. This beautiful Essay forms the 117th Letter in the Citizen of the World, but Dr. Goldsmith has there omitted the concluding paragraph, which on ac. count of its singular merit we shall here preserve.
But let me turn from a scene of such distress to the fanctified hypocrite, who has been talking of virtue till the time of bed, and now steals out, to give a loose to his vices under the protection of midnight ; vices more atrocious because he attempts to conceal them. See how he pants down the dark alley, and, with haftening steps, fears an acquaintance in cvery face. He has passed the whole day in company he hates, and now goes to prolong the night among company that as heartily hate him. May his vices be detected ! may the morning rise upon his shame! yet I wish to no purpose, villany, when detected, never gives up, but boldly adds impudence to imposture.
THE B E E, N° V.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 1759.
UPON POLITICAL FRUGALITY.
FRUGALITY has ever been esteemed a virtue as well among Pagans as Christians: there have been even heroes who have practised it. However, we must acknowledge, that it is too modest a virtue, or, if you will, too obfcure a one to be effential to heroism, few heroes have been able to attain to such an height. Frugality agrees much better with politicks ; it seems to be the base, the support, and in a word, seems to be the inseparable companion of a just administration.
However this be, there is not perhaps in the world a people lefs fond of this virtue than the English, and of consequence there is not a nation more restless, more exposed to the uneasiness of life, or less capable of providing for particular happinessa We are taught to despise this virtue from our childhood, our education is improperly directed, and a man who has gone through the politest inftitutions, is generally the person who is least acquainted with the wholesome precepts of frugality. We every day hear the elegance of taste, the magnificence of some, and the generosity of others, made the subject of our admiration and applause. All this we see represented not as the end and recompense of labour and desert, but as the actual result of genius, as the mark of a noble and exalted mind, P 3
In the midst of these praises bestowed on luxury, for which elegance and taste are but another name, perhaps it may be thought improper to plead the cause of frugality. It may be thought low, or vainly declamatory, to exhort our youth from the follies of dress, and of every other luperfluity; to accustom themselves, even with mechanic meanness, to the fimple necessaries of life. Such sort of instructions may appear antiquated ; yet, however, they seem the foundations of all our virtues, and the most efficacious method of making mankind useful members of society. Unhappily, however, such discourses are not fashionable among us, and the fashion seems every day growing still more obsolete, fince the press, and every other method of exhortation, seems disposed to talk of the luxuries of life as harmless enjoyments. I remember, when a boy, to have remarked, that those who in school wore the finest cloaths were pointed at as being conceited and proud. At present, our little masters are taught to consider drefs betimes, and they are regarded, even at school, with contempt, who do not appear as genteel as the rest. Education should teach us to become useful, sober, difinterested and laborious members of society ; but does it not at present point out a different path? It teaches us to multiply our wants, by which means we beccme more eager to poffess, in order to dissipate, a greater charge to ourselves, and more useless or obnoxious to society.
If a youth happens to be possessed of more genius than fortune, he is early informed that he ought to think of his advancement in the world ; that he Thould labour to make himself pleasing to his fuperiors; that he should shun low company (by which is meant the company of his equals) ; that he should rather live a little above than below his fortune ; that he should think of becoming great ; but he finds none to admonish hiin to become frugal, to persevere in one single design, to avoid every pleasure and all flattery, which, however, seeming to concilitate the favour of his superiors, never conciliate their esteem. There are none to teach him that the best way of becoming happy in himself, and useful to others, is to continue in the state in which Fortune at first placed him, without making too hasty strides to advancement; that greatness may be attained, but should not be expected ; and that they who most impatiently expect advancement, are seldom possessed of their wishes. He has few, I say, to teach him this leffon, or to moderate bis youthful passions, yet, this experience may fay, that a young man, who but for fix years of the early part of his life could feem divested of all his passions, would certainly make, or considerably increase his fortune, and might indulge several of his favourite inclinations in manhood with the utmost security.
The efficaciousness of these means is sufficiently known and acknowledged; but as we are apt to connect a low idea with all our notions of frugality, the person who would persuade us to it, might be accused of preaching up avarice.
Of all vices, however, against which morality diffuades, there is not one more undetermined than this of avarice. Misers are described by some, as men divested of honour, sentiment or humanity ; but this is only an ideal picture, or the resemblance at least is found but in a few. In truth, they who are generally called misers, are some of the very best members of society. The sober, the laborious, the attentive, the frugal, are thus ftiled by the gay, giddy, thoughtless and extravagant. The first let of men do society all the good, and the latter all the evil that is felt. Even the excesses of the first no way injure the commonwealth ; those of the latter are the most injurious that can be conceived. P 4
The ancient Romans, more rational than we in this particular, were very far from thus misplacing their admiration or praise ; instead of regarding the practice of parsimony as low or vicious, they made it synonymous even with probity. They esteemed those virtues so infeparable, that the known expresfion of Vir Frugi signified, at one and the same time, a sober and managing man, an honest man, and a man of substance.
The Scriptures, in a thousand places, praise oeconomy, and it is every where distinguished from avarice. But in spite of all its facred dictates, a taste for vain pleasures and foolish expence is the ruling passion of the present times. Paffion did I call it, rather the madness which at once poffeffes the great and the little, the rich and the poor ; even some are so intent upon acquiring the superfluities of life, that they sacrifice its necessaries in this foolish pursuit.
To attempt the entire abolition of luxury, as it would be impoffible, so it is not my intent. The generality of mankind are too weak, too much slaves to custom and opinion, to resist the torrent of bad example. But if it be impossible to convert the multitude; those who have received a more extended education, who are enlightened and judicious, may find some hints on this subject useful. They may see some abuses, the suppression of which would by no means endanger public liberty ; they may be directed to the abolition of some necessary expences, which have no tendency to promote happiness or virtue, and which might be directed to better purposes. Our fire-works, our public feasts and entertainments, our entries of ambassadors, &c. what mummery
all this; what childish pageants ! what millions are sacrificed in paying tribute to custom, what an unnecessary charge at times when we are pressed with real want, which cannot be satisfied without bur thening the poor !