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256. Man both Social and Selfish.-1 think it is Adam Smith who has observed, that if a man in Europe were to go to bed with the conviction that the hour of twelve, on the following morning, the whole empire of China would be swallowed up by an earthquake, it would not disturb his night's rest so much as the certainty, that, at the same hour, be himself would be obliged to undergo the amputation of his little finger. It seems to be a law of our nature, intended, perhaps, for our preservation, that little evils coming home to ourselves, should affect us more than great evils at a distance, happening to others; but they must be evils that we cannot prevent, and over which we have no control; for, perhaps, there is no man that would not lose a little finger to save China. It has been also remarked, that if a state criminal were to be executed opposite to the doors of the theatre, at the moment of the performance of the deepest tragedy, that the emptiness of • the house, and the sudden abandonment of the seats, would immediately testify how
much more we are interested by witnessing real misery than artificial. But the result of such an experiment would probably be this, that the galleries would be wholly deserted, and the boxes in part, but that the far greater proportion of the audience in the pit would keep their stations; for the extremes of luxury on the one hand, and of misery, on the other, have a decided tendency to harden the human mind; but the middle class, in as much as it is equally removed from both these extremes, seems to be that particular meridian, under which all the kindlier affections, and the finer sensibilities of our nature most readily flourish and abound. But, even if the theatre where wholly emptied on such an occasion as that which I have noticed above, it would not appear that we should be warranted in affirming, that we are creatures so constituted, as to derive happiness, not only from our own pleasures, but from another's pains. For sympathy, in some temperaments, will produce the same conduct, with insensibility, in others, and the effects will be similar, although the causes that produce them will be opposite. The famous “ amateur Anglaise,” who crossed the channel to witness an execution at Paris, was never suspected of a want of feeling; but the servant girl, recorded by Swift, who walked seven miles in a torrent of rain, to see a criminal hanged, and returned crying and sobbing because the man was reprieved, may, without any breach of Christian charity, be accused of a total want of compassion and benevolence.
The Rev. C. C. Colton. costs mais
Dp Bbw UHR
257. Mendicants.—Mendicants have great comforts; they require a good address, tho' they can dispense with a good dress ; this dispensation is exclusively theirs: they have little to care for, and their expectations are great: of them nothing is required; and what forms their calamity, forms likewise a fund for its own emergencies.--Zimmerman.
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258. Education. The time which we usually bestow on the instruction of our children in principles, the reasons of which they do not understand, is worse than lost: it is teaching them to resign their faculties to authority ; it is improving their memories instead of their understandings; it is giving them credulity instead of knowledge; and it is preparing them for any kind of slavery which can be imposed on them. Whereas, if we assisted them in making experiments on themselves; induced them to attend to the consequence of every action, to adjust their little deviations, and fairly and freely to exercise their powers; they would collect facts which nothing coald controvert. These facts they would deposit in their memories as in secure and eternai treasures; they would be materials for reflection, and in time be formed into principles of conduct, which no circumstances or temptations could remove. This would be a method of forming a man who would answer the end of his being, and make himself and others happy.
Williams. 298 259. Excessive Inequality of Fortune. The most pressing evils were those arising from excessive inequality of fortune. Lycurgus struck at the root of the mischief, by first equalizing property, and then removing alike the motives and means to accumulate. He made a law for the equal division of the lands ; forbade the coining of metals more precious than iron; allowed men to borrow any utensils they wanted, even without consulting the owner; and adopted the Cretan institution of public messes, at which every citizen was obliged to live. His object was, that all the Spartans should enjoy equality and competence, and, being free from the necessity of gainful labour, and the vices generated by the love of gain, should devote their time to improving their capacities for the public service.
History of Greece, published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge
260. Waste of Labour.-The same care and toil that raise a dish of peas at Christmas, would give bread to a whole family during six months.--Hume.
261.--Duelling.–Mr. Sage.--I have never read of a duel among the Romans, and yet their nobility used more liberty with their tongues than one may do now without being challenged.
Sir Mark.-Perhaps the Romans were of opinion, that ill language and brutal manners reflected only on those who were guilty of them; and that a man's reputation was not at all cleared by cutting the person's throat who had reflected upon it: but the custom of those times had fixed the scandal in the action; whereas now it lies in the reproach.--Tatler.
262. Public Houses, the reason why they are encouraged.
Behold the schools, in which plebeian minds
263. The Right of Voting - Want of property is no proof of wanting industry, talents, or virtue. Then why should a deficiency of fortune annihilate a man's political consequence? If an individual be without property and not supported by public or private benefactions, he must, unless a robber, be considered industrious. But a man of property has no such assurance in his favour. A poor man, so circumstanced, has therefore a much better right to vote than a rich man, on the mere account of contri, þuting to the state.--Ensor.
265. A Knowledge of the Greek and Latin Languages not requisite to constitute a well-informed Man.--In this age we have sufficient books on every kind of science in our own language to constitute, I don't say the master of a college, or a professor, but a well informed mau, who shall be able to speak on any subject, without having recourse to Greek or Latin,
What is derived from education at college is so trilling, that if it was ge nerally known, no person would regret not having studied there. Were we to investigate the abilities of those who return from a university, perhaps we should find but very few men of solid learning, many who are not more improved than when they first went, and probably some, who by too much attention to dissipation in preference to their books, have even lost what they knew before.
From the books extant at this period, we may very well, without Greek or Latin, acquire a knowledge of mathematics in all its branches; the opinions of ancient and modern philosophers, universal history, chronology, geography, rhetoric, poetry, the principles of the Christian religion, and of every known religion in the world.
I should think any person well acquainted with these subjects would be more admired than he, who, possessing a knowledge of Greek and Latin, should interlard his conversation with quotations from Homer, Isocrates, Virgil, Cicero, &c. It would be better for many persons if they were unacquainted with these languages, as it spoils their manners, and renders them less acceptahle to society, than one who is not conversant in them.
Historical aud Literary Anecdotes.
266. Death..We are born, it is said, with the seeds or principles of dissolution in our frame, which continue to operate from our birth to our death; so that in this sense, we may be said to die daily. Death, therefore, is not so much a laying aside our old bodies, (for this we have been doing all our lives) as ceasing to assume new ones. Upon the whole then, did not Locke determine rightly, when he made personal identity to consist in consciousness; man not being the same at sixty, as he was at twenty !-Sylva.
267. Intemperance.—“Doth not intemperance,” said Socrates,“ rob us of our reason, that chief excellence of man; and drive us on to commit the very greatest disorders! Can he, who is immersed in pleasure, find time to turn his thoughts on things that are useful? But, if he could, his judgment is so far overborne by his appetites, that, seeing the right path, he deliberately rejects it. Neither should we expect modesty in such a character; it being most certain that nothing can well stand at a greater distance from this than the whole life of the voluptuary.”
268. Kings at Arguments. -Kings most commonly, though strong in legions, are but weak at arguments : as they who ever have been accustomed from the cradle to use their will only as their right hand, their reason always as their left. --Milton.
269. Military Fame.—Hence it is, that warriors have been termed heroes, and the eulogy of heroes has been the constant business of historians and poets, from the days of Nimrod down to the present century. Homer, for his astonishing variety, animation, and sublimity, has not a warmer admirer than myself; he has been for three thousand years, like a reigning sovereign, applauded as a matter of course, whether from love or fear; for no man with safety to his own character can refuse to join the chorus of his praise. I never can express (and his other admirers have not done it for me) the pleasure I receive from his poems; but in a view of philanthropy, I consider his existence as having been a serious misfortune to the human
He has given to military life a charm which few men can resist, a splendour which envelopes the scenes of carnage in a cloud of glory, which dazzles the
of every beholder, steals from us our natural sensibilities in exchange for the artificial, debases men to brutes under the pretext of exalting them to gods, and obliterates with the same irresistible stroke the moral duties of life and the true policy of nations. Alexander is not the only human monster that has been formed after the model of Achilles; nor Persia and Egypt the only countries depopulated for no other reason than the desire of rivalling predecessors in military fame.
Barlow's Advice to the Privileged Orders.
270. Happiness and Wisdom. There is this difference between happiness and wisdom; he that thinks himself the happiest man, really is so; but he that thinks himself the wisest, is generally the greatest fool.
The Rev. C. C. Colton.
271. Persuasion, a better Argument than Force.—Whoever applies himself to the study of wisdom, in hopes of becoming one day capable of directing his fellow-citizens, will not indulge, but rather take pains to subdue, whatever he finds in his temper turbulent and impetuous; knowing that enmity and danger are the attendants on force; while the path of persuasion is all security and good will; for they who are compelled, hate whoever compels them, supposing they have been injured; whereas we conciliate the affection of those we gain by persuasion; while they consider it as a kindness to be applied to in such a manner. Therefore, it is only for those to employ force who possess strength without judgment; but the well-advised will have recourse to other means. Besides, he who pretends to carry his point by force hath need of many associates; but the man who can persuade knows that he is of himself sufficient for the purpose; neither can such a one be supposed forward to shed blood; for who is there would choose to destroy a fellow citizen rather than make a friend of him by mildness and persuasion ?
272. Memory-Without memory, the judgment must be unemployed, and ignorance must be the consequence. Pliny says it is one of the greatest gifts of Nature - Montaigne.