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stood in the middle of the sky, and shot his beams directly down upon us. The world was much more enlightened in those ages, and the air much warmer. Think it not dotage in me if I affirm that glorious being moves: I saw his first setting out in the east, and I began my race of life near the time when he began his immense career. He has for several ages advanced along the sky with vast heat and unparalleled brightness; but now, by his declination and a sensible decay, more especially of late, in his vigour, I foresee that all nature must fall in a little time, and that the creation will lie buried in darkness in less than a century of minutes.
"Alas! my friends, how did I once flatter myself with the hopes of abiding here for ever! how magnificent are the cells which I hollowed out for myself! what confidence did I repose in the firmness and spring of my joints, and in the strength of my pinions! But I have lived long enough to nature, and even to glory. Neither will any of you, whom I leave behind, have equal satisfaction in life, in the dark declining age which I see is already begun."
Thus far this agreeable unknown writer-too agreeable, we may hope, to remain always concealed. The fine allusion to the character of Julius Casar, whose words he has put into the mouth of this illustrious son of Hypanis, is perfectly just and beautiful, and aptly points out the moral of this inimitable piece, the design of which would have been quite perverted, had a virtuous character, a Cato or a Cicero, been made choice of to have been turned into ridicule. Had this life of a day been represented as employed in the exercise of virtue, it would have an equal dignity with a life of any limited duration, and, according to the exalted sentiments of Tully, would have been preferable to an immortality filled with all the pleasures of sense, if void of those of a higher kind: but as the views of this vainglorious insect were confined within the nar
row circle of his own existence, as he only boasts the magnificent cells he has built, and the length of happiness he has enjoyed, he is the proper emblem of all such insects of the human race, whose ambition does not extend beyond the like narrow limits; and notwithstanding the splendour they appear in at present, they will no more deservethe regard of posterity than the butterflies of the last spring. In vain has history been taken up in describing the numerous swarms of this mischievous species which has infested the earth in the successive ages: now it is worth the inquiry of the virtuous, whether the Rhine or the Adige may not, perhaps, swarm with them at present, as much as the banks of the Hypanis; or whether that silver rivulet, the Thames, may not show a specious molehill, covered with inhabitants of the like dignity and importance. The busy race of beings attached to these fleeting enjoyments are indeed all of them engaged in the pursuit of happiness, and it is owing to their imperfect notions of it that they stop so far short in their pursuit. The present prospect of pleasure seems to bound their views, and the more distant scenes of happiness, when what they now propose shall be attained, do not strike their imagination. It is a great stupidity or thoughtlessness not to perceive that the happiness of rational creatures is inseparably connected with immortality. Creatures only endowed with sensation may in a low sense be reputed happy, so long as their sensations are pleasing: and if these pleasing sensations are commensurate with the time of their existence, this measure of happiness is complete. But such beings as are endowed with thought and reflection cannot be made happy by any limited term of happiness, how great soever its duration may be. The more exquisite and more valuable their enjoyments are, the more painful must be the thought that they are to have an end; and this pain of expectation must be conVOL. II.-6
tinually increasing, the nearer the end approaches. And if these beings are themselves immortal, and yet insecure of the continuance of their happiness, the case is far worse, since an eternal void of delight, if not to say a state of misery, must succeed. It would be here of no moment, whether the time of their happiness were measured by days or hours, by months or years, or by periods of the most immeasurable length: these swiftly-flowing streams bear no proportion to that ocean of infinity where they must finish their course. The longest duration of finite happiness avails nothing when it is past: nor can the memory of it have any other effect than to renew a perpetual pining after pleasures never to return; and since virtue is the only pledge and security of a happy immortality, the folly of sacrificing it to any temporal advantage, how important soever they may appear, must be infinitely great, and cannot but leave behind it an eternal regret.
ON SMUGGLING, AND ITS VARIOUS SPECIES.
SIR,-There are many people that would be thought, and even think themselves, honest men, who fail nevertheless in particular points of honesty; deviating from that character sometimes by the prevalence of mode or custom, and sometimes through mere inattention; so that their honesty is partial only, and not general or universal. Thus one who would scorn to overreach you in a bargain, shall make no scruple of tricking you a little now and then at cards: another, that plays with the utmost fairness, shall with great freedom cheat you
in the sale of a horse. But there is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall, than that of defrauding government of its revenues by smuggling when they have an opportunity, or encouraging smugglers by buying their goods.
I fell into these reflections the other day, on hearing two gentlemen of reputation discoursing about a small estate, which one of them was inclined to sell and the other to buy; when the seller, in recommending the place, remarked, that its situation was very advantageous on this account, that, being on the seacoast in a smuggling country, one had frequent opportunities of buying many of the expensive articles used in a family (such as tea, coffee, chocolate, brandy, wines, cambrics, Brussels laces, French silks, and all kinds of India goods) 20, 30, and, in some articles, 50 per cent. cheaper than they could be had in the more interior parts, of traders that paid duty. The other honest gentleman allowed this to be an advantage, but insisted that the seller, in the advanced price he demanded on that account, rated the advantage much above its value. And neither of them seemed to think dealing with smugglers a practice that an honest man (provided he got his goods cheap) had the least reason to be ashamed of.
At a time when the load of our public debt, and the heavy expense of maintaining our fleets and armies to be ready for our defence on occasion, makes it necessary not only to continue old taxes, but often to look out for new ones, perhaps it may not be unuseful to state this matter in a light that few seem to have considered it in.
The people of Great Britain, under the happy constitution of this country, have a privilege few other countries enjoy, that of choosing the third branch of the legislature, which branch has alone the power of regulating their taxes. Now, when
ever the government finds it necessary for the common benefit, advantage, and safety of the nation, for the security of our liberties, property, religion, and everything that is dear to us, that certain sums shall be yearly raised by taxes, duties, &c., and paid into the public treasury, thence to be dispensed by government for those purposes, ought not every honest man freely and willingly to pay his just proportion of this necessary expense? Can he possibly preserve a right to that character, if by fraud, stratagem, or contrivance, he avoids that payment in whole or in part?
What should we think of a companion who, having supped with his friends at a tavern, and partaken equally of the joys of the evening with the rest of us, would nevertheless contrive by some artifice to shift his share of the reckoning upon others, in order to go off scot-free? If a man who practised this would, when detected, be deemed and called a scoundrel, what ought he to be called who can enjoy all the inestimable benefits of public society, and yet, by smuggling or dealing with smugglers, contrive to evade paying his just share of the expense, as settled by his own representatives in parliament, and wrongfully throw it upon his honest and, perhaps, much poorer neighbours? He will, perhaps, be ready to tell me that he does not wrong his neighbours; he scorns the imputation; he only cheats the king a little, who is very able to bear it. This, however, is a mistake. The public treasure is the treasure of the nation, to be applied to national purposes. And when a duty is laid for a particular public and necessary purpose, if, through smuggling, that duty falls short of raising the sum required, and other duties must therefore be laid to make up the deficiency, all the additional sum laid by the new duties and paid by other people, though it should amount to no more than a halfpenny or a farthing per head, is so much actually picked out