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save every year, by the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.
If it should be said, that people are apt to be obstinately attached to old customs, and that it will be dif. ficult to induce them to rise before noon, consequently my discovery can be of little use; I answer, Nil de. sperandum. I believe all who have common sense, as soon as they have learnt from this paper that it is daylight when the sun rises, will contrive to rise with him; and, to compel the rest, I would propose the fol. lowing regulations :
First. Let a tax be laid of a louis per window, on every window that is provided with shutters to keep out the light of the sun.
Second. Let the same salutary operation of police be made use of to prevent our burning candles that inclined us last winter to be more economical in burn. ing wood ; that is, let guards be placed in the shops of the wax and tallow-chandlers, and no family be permitted to be supplied with more than one pound of candles
week. Third. Let guards also be posted to stop all the coaches, &c. that would pass the streets after sunset, except those of physicians, surgeons, and midwives.
Fourth. Every morning, as soon as the sun rises, let all the bells in every church be set a ringing; and if that is not sufficient, let cannon be fired in every street, to wake the sluggards effectually, and make them open their eyes to see their true interest.
All the difficulty will be in the first two or three days ; after which the reformation will be as natural and easy as the present irregularity; for ce n'est que le premier pas qui coute. Oblige a man to rise at four in the morning, and it is more than probable he shall
go willingly to bed at eight in the evening ; and having had eight hours sleep, he will rise more willingly at four the following morning. But this sum of ninety-six millions and seventy-five thousand livres is not the whole of what may be saved by my economical project. You may observe, that I have calculated upon only one half of the year, and much may be saved in the other, though the days are shorter. Besides, the immense stock of wax and tallow left unconsumed during the summer will probably make candles much cheaper for the ensuing winter, and continue cheaper as long as the proposed reformation shall be supported.
For the great benefit of this discovery, thus freely communicated and bestowed by me on the public, I demand neither place, pension, exclusive privilege, nor any other reward whatever. I expect only to have the honour of it. And yet I know there are little envious minds who will, as usual, deny me this, and say, that my invention was known to the ancients, and perhaps they may bring passages out of the old books in proof of it. I will not dispute with these people that the ancients knew not the sun would rise at certain hours ; they possibly had, as we have, almanacks that predicted it: but it does not follow from thence, that they knew he gave light as soon as he rose. This is what I daim as my discovery. If the ancients knew it, it must have been long since forgotten, for it certainly was unknown to the moderns, at least to the Parisians ; which to prove, I need use but one plain simple argument: They are as well instructed, judicious, and prudent a people as exist any where in the world, all professing, like myself, to be lovers of economy; and, from the many beavy taxes required from them by
the necessities of the state, have surely reason to be economical. I say, it is impossible that so sensible a people, under such circumstances, should have lived so long by the smoky, unwholesome, and enormously expensive light of candles, if they had really known that they might have had as much pure light of the sun for nothing. I am, &c.
CONVERSATION OF A COMPANY OF EPHEMERA;
WITH A SOLILOQUY OF ONE ADVANCED IN AGE.
To Madame Brillon of Passy. You may remember, my dear friend, that when we lately spent that happy day, in the delightful garden and sweet society of the Moulin Joly, I stopt a little in one of our walks, and staid some time behind the company. We had been shown numberless skeletons of a kind of little fly, called an Ephemera, whose suc. cessive generations, we were told, were bred and ex. pired within the day. I happened to see a living company of them on a leaf, who appeared to be engaged in conversation. You know I understand all the inferior animal tongues ; my too great application to the study of them is the best excuse I can give for the little progress I have made in your charming language. I listened through curiosity to the discourse of these little creatures; but as they, in their national vivacity, spoke three or four together, I could make but little of their conversation. I found, however, by some broken expressions that I heard now and then, they were disputing warmly on the merit of two foreign musi. cians, one a cousin, the other a moscheto ; in which dispute they spent their time, seeming as regardless of the shortness of their life as if they had been sure of living a month. Happy people, thought I, you live certainly under a wise, just, and mild government, since you have no public grievances to complain of, nor any other subject of contention but the perfections or imperfections of foreign music. I turned my head from them to an old gray-headed one, who was single on another leaf, and talking to himself. Being amused with his soliloquy, I put it down in writing, in hopes it will likewise amuse her to whom I am so much in. debted for the most pleasing of all amusements, her delicious company
and heaverly harmony. “ It was,” says he, “ the opinion of learned philo sophers of our race, who lived and flourished long before my time, that this vast world, the Moulin Joby, could not itself subsist more than eighteen hours : and I think there was some foundation for that opinion ; since, by the apparent motion of the great luminary, that gives life to all nature, and which in my time has evidently declined considerably towards the ocean at the end of the earth, it must then finish its course, be extinguished in the waters that surround us, and leave the world in cold and darkness, necessarily producing universal death and destruction. I have lived seven of those hours; a great age, being no less than four hun dred and twenty minutes of time! How very few of us continue so long! I have seen generations born, flourish, and expire. My present friends are the chil. dren and grandchildren of the friends of my youth, who are now, alas, no more! And I must soon fole low them; for, by the common course of nature, though still in health, I cannot expect to live above seveu or eight minutes longer. What now avails all my toil and labour, in amassing honey-dew on this leaf, which I cannot live to enjoy! What the political struggles I have been engaged in, for the good of my compa. triot inhabitants of this bush, or my philosophical studies, for the benefit of our race in general : for in politics what can laws do without morals ? Our prosent race of ephemeræ will in a course of minutes become corrupt, like those of other and older bushes, and consequently as wretched ! And in philosophy how small our progress. Alas ! art is long, and life is short! My friends would comfort me with the idea of a name, they say, I shall leave behind me; and they tell me I have lived long enough to nature and to glory. But what will fame be to an ephemera who no longer exists ? and what will become of all history in the eighteenth hour, when the world itself, even the whole Moulin Joly, shall come to its end, and be buried in a universal ruin ?"
To me, after all my eager pursuits, no solid pleasures now remain, but the reflection of a long life spent in meaning well, the sensible conversation of a few good lady ephemeræ, and now and then a kind smile and a tune from the ever amiable Brilliante.
EPITAPH FOR HIMSELF.
its contents torn out,
lies here food for worms;