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ported delicacy for our tables, or ornament in our equipage, is a tax upon the poor.
The true interest of every government is to cultivate the necessaries, by which is always meant every happiness our own country can produce ; and suppress all the luxuries, by which is meant, on the other hand, every happiness imported from abroad. Commerce has therefore its bounds; and every new import, instead of receiving encouragement, should be first examined whether it be conducive to the interest of society.
Among the many publications with which the press is
every day burthened, I have often wondered why we never had, as in other countries, an Economical Journal, which might at once direct to all the useful discoveries in other countries, and spread those of our own. As other journals serve to amuse the learned, or whať is more often the case, to make them quarrel, while they only serve to give us the history of the mischievous world, for fo I call our warriors; or the idle world, for so may the learned be called; they never trouble their heads about the most useful part of mankind, our peasants and our artizans; were such a work carried into execution with proper management and just direction, it might serve as a repository for every useful improvement, and increase that knowledge which learning often ferves to confound.
Sweden seems the only country where the science of economy seems to have fixed its empire. In other countries, it is cultivated only by a few admirers, or by focieties which have not received sufficient sanction to become completely useful; but here there is founded a royal academy, destined to this purpose only, composed of the most learned and powerful members of the state; an academy which declines every thing which only terminates in amuse
ment, erudition, or curiosity; and admits only of observations tending to illustrate husbandry, agriculture, and every real physical improvement. In this country nothing is left to private rapacity, but every improvement is immediately diffused, and its inventor immediately recompensed by the state. Happy were it so in other countries ; by this means every impoftor would be prevented from ruining or deceiving the public with pretended discoveries or noftrums, and every real inventor would not, by this means, suffer the inconveniences of suspicion.
In short, the reconoiny, equally unknown to the prodigal and avaricious, seems to be a just mean between both extremes ; and to a' tranfgrefsion of this at present decried virtue it is that we are to attribute a great part of the evils which infeft fociety. A taste for fuperfluity, amusement, and pleasure bring effeminacy, idleness, and expence in their train. But a thirst of riches is always proportioned to our debauchery, and the greatest prodigal is too frequently found to be the greatest miser; so that the vices which seem the most opposite, are frequently found to produce each other; and, to avoid both, it is only necessary to be frugal. Virtus est medium vitiorum et utrinque reductum.
SCARCELY a day paffes in which we do not hear compliments paid to Dryden, Pope, and other writers of the last age, while not a month comes forward that is not loaded with invective against the writers of this. Strange, that our critics should be fond of giving their favours to those who are insenfible of the obligation, and their dislike to those, who of all mankind are most apt to retaliate the injury.
Even though our present writers had not equal merit with their predecessors, it would be politic to use them with ceremony. Every compliment paid them would be more agreeable, in proportion as they least deserved it. Tell a lady with an handsome face that she is pretty, The only thinks it her due ; it is what she has heard a thousand times before from others, and disregards the compliment : but assure a lady, the cut of whose visage is something more plain, that she looks killing to-day, the instantly bridles up and feels the force of the well-timed flattery the whole day after. Compliments, which we think are deserved, we accept only as debts with indifference; but those which conscience informs us we do not merit, we receive with the same gratitude that we do favours given away.
Our gentlemen, however, who preside at the distribution of literary fame, seem resolved to part with praise neither from motives of justice, or generosity ; one would think, when they take pen in hand, that it was only to blot reputations, and to put their seals to the pacquet which consigns every new-born effort to oblivion.
Yet, notwithstanding the republic of letters hangs at present so feebly together ; though those friendThips which once promoted literary fame seem now to be discontinued ; though every writer who now draws the quill seems to aim at profit, as well as applause, many among them are probably laying in stores for immortality, and are provided with a sufficient stock of reputation to last the whole journey.
As I was indulging these reflections, in order to eke out the present page, I could not avoid pursu
ing the metaphor of going a journey in my imagination, and formed the following Reverie too wild for allegory, and too regular for a dream.
I fancied myself placed in the yard of a large inn, in which there were an infinite number of waggons and stage-coaches, attended by fellows who either invited the company to take their places, or were busied in packing their baggage. Each vehicle had its inscription shewing the place of its destination. On one I could read, The pleasure stage-coach; on another, The waggon of industry; on a third, The vanity whim; and on a fourth, The landau of riches. I had some inclination to step into each of these, one after another; but I know not by what means I passed them by, and at last fixed my eye upon a small carriage Berlin fashion, which seemed the most convenient vehicle at a distance in the world ; and, upon my nearer approach, found it to be The Fame machine.
I instantly made up to the coachman, whom I found to be an affable and seemingly good-natured fellow. He informed me, that he had but a few days ago returned from the temple of fame, to which he had been carrying Addison, Swift, Pope, Steele, Congreve, and Colley Cibber. That they made but indifferent company by the way, and that he once or twice was going to empty his berlin of the whole cargo: however, says he, I got them all safe home, with no other damage than a black eye, which Colley gave Mr. Pope, and am now returned for another coachful. 66 If-that be all, friend,” said I, “ and if you are in want of company, I'll make one “ with all my heart. Open the door ; I hope the ma- chine rides easy.” “Oh! for that, fir, extremely “ easy.” But still keeping the door shut, and measuring me with his eye, “ Pray, fir, have you no “ luggage? You seem to be a good-natured sort of “ a gentleman; but I don't find you have got any lugVOL. IV.
gage, and I never permit any to travel with me “ but such as have something valuable to pay for '" coach-hire.” Examining my pockets, I own I was not a little disconcerted at this unexpected rebuff; but considering that I carried a number of the Bee under my arm, I was resolved to open it in his eyes, and dazzle him with the splendor of the page. He read the title and contents, however, without any enotion, and assured me he had never heard of it before. “In short, friend,” said he, now lofing all his former respect, “you must not come in. I expect “ better passengers; but, as you seem an harmless
creature, perhaps if there be room left, I may " let you ride a while for charity.”
I now took my stand by the coachman at the door, and since I could not command a feat, was resolved to be as useful as possible, and earn by my assiduity what I could not by my merit.
The next that presented for a place was a most whimsical figure indeed. He was hung round with papers of his own composing, not unlike those who jing ballads in the streers, and came dancing up to the door with all the confidence of instant admittance. The volubility of his motion and address prevented my being able to read more of his cargo than the word Inspector, which was written in great letters at the top of some of the papers. He opened the coachdoor himself without any ceremony, and was just Nipping in, when the coachman, with as little ceremony, pulled him back. Our figure seemed perfectly angry at this repulse, and deinanded gentleman's fatisfaction. “ Lord, fir !" replied the coachman, “ in“ stead of proper luggage, by your bulk you seem “ loaded for a West-India voyage. You are big “ enough with all your papers to crack twenty “ stage-coaches. Excuse me, indeed, fir, for you “ mult not enter.” Our figure now began to expoftu