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body, though so far necessary that we cannot be perfectly happy without it, is not sufficient to make us happy of itself. Happiness springs immediately from the mind; health is but to be considered as a candidate or circumstance, without which this happiness cannot be tasted pure and unabated.
Virtue is the best preservative of health, as it prescribes temperance, and such a regulation of our passions as is most conducive to the well being of the animal economy; so that it is, at the same time, the only true happiness of the mind, and the best means of preserving the health of the body.
If our desires are to the things of this world, they are never to be satisfied; if our great view is upon those of the next, the expectation of them is an infinitely higher satisfaction than the enjoyment of those of the present.
There is no happiness then but in a virtuous and self-approving conduct: unless our actions will bear the test of our sober jndgment, and reflections upon them, they are not the actions, and consequently not the happiness, of a rational being.
From the Pennsylvania Gazette, No. 409, Oct. 14, 1736.
The world, but a few ages since, was in a very poor condition as to trade and navigation; nor indeed were they much better in other matters of useful knowledge. It was a green-headed time; every useful improvement was hid from them; they had neither looked into heaven nor earth, into sea nor land, as has been done since. They had philosophy without experiment, mathematics without instruments, geometry without scale, astronomy without demonstration.
They made war without powder, shot, cannon, or mortars; nay, the mob made their bonfires without squibs or crackers. They went to sea without compass, and sailed without the needle. They viewed the stars without telescopes, and measured latitndes without observation. Learning had no printing-press, writing no paper, and paper no ink: the lover was forced to send his mistress a deal board for a love-letter, and a billet-doux might be about the size of an ordinary trencher. They were clothed without manufacture, and their richest robes were the skins of the most formidable monsters: they carried on trade without books, and correspondence without posts: their merchants kept no accounts, their shopkeepers no cash-books: they had surgery without anatomy, and physicians without the materia medica: they gave emetics without ipecacuanha, drew blisters without cantharides, and cured agues without the bark.
As for geographical discoveries, they had neither seen the North Cape, nor the Cape of Good Hope, south. All the discovered inhabited world which they knew and conversed with, was circumscribed within very narrow limits, viz. France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany,and Greece; the Lesser Asia, the west part of Persia, Arabia, the north parts of Africa, and the islands of the Mediterranean Sea; and this was the whole world to them. Not that even these countries were fully known either; and several parts of them were not inquired into at all. Germany was known little farther than the banks of the Elbe, Poland as little beyond the Vistula, or Hungary as little beyond the Danube; Muscovy or Russia perfectly unknown, as much as China beyond it; and India only by a little commerce upon the coast, about Surat and Malabar: Africa had been more unknown, but by the ruin of the Carthaginians; all the western coast of it was sunk out of knowledge again, and forgotten • the northern coast of Africa in the Mediterranean remained unknown, and that was all; for the Saracens, overrunning the nations which were planted there, ruined commerce as well as religion. The Baltic Sea was not discovered, nor even the navigation of it known; for the Tentonic knights came not thither till the 13th century.
America was not heard of, nor so much as a suggestion in the minds of men that any part of the world lay that way. The coasts of Greenland, or Spitsbergen, and the whale fishing, not known: the best navigators in the world, at that time, would have fled from a whale with much more fright and horror than from the devil, in the most terrible shapes they had been told he appeared in.
The coasts of Angola, Congo, the Gold and the Grain coasts, on the west of Africa, whence, since that time, such immense wealth has been drawn, not discovered, nor the least inquiry made after them. All the East India and China trade, not undiscovered, but out of the reach of expectation. Coffee and tea (those modern blessings of mankind) had never been heard of: all the unbounded ocean, we now call the South Sea, was hid and unknown; all the Atlantic ocean, beyond the mouth of the Straits, was frightful and terrible in the distant prospects, nor durst any one peep into it, otherwise than as they might creep along the coast of Africa towards Sallee, or Santa Cruz. The North Sea was hid in a veil of impenetrable darkness; the White Sea, or Archangel, was a very modern discovery, not found out till sir Hugh Willoughby doubled the North Cape, and paid dear for his adventure; being frozen to death, with all his crew, on the coast of Lapland; while his companion's ship, with the famous Mr. Chancellor, went on to the gulf of Russia, called the White Sea, where no Christian strangers had ever been before him.
In these narrow circumstances stood the world's knowledge at the beginning of the 13th century, when men of genins began to look abroad and about them. Now as it was wonderful to see a world so full of people, and people so capable of improving, yet so stupid and so blind, so ignorant and so perfectly unimproved; it was wonderful to see with what a general alacrity they took the alarm; almost all together preparing themselves, as it were on a sndden, by a general inspiration, to spread knowledge through the earth, and to search into every thing that it was possible to uncover.
How surprising is it to look back so little a way behind us, and see that even in less than two hundred years, all this (now so self-wise) part of the world did not so much as know whether there was any such a place as a Russia, a China, a Guinea, a Greenland, or a North Cape! that as to America, it was never supposed there was any such place; neither had the world, though they stood upon the shoulders of four thousand years' experience, the least thought so much as that there was any land that way!
As they were ignorant of places, so of things also. So vast are the improvements of science, that all our knowledge of mathematics, of nature, of the brightest part of the human wisdom, had their admission among us within these last two centuries.
What was the world then before? and to what were the heads and hands of mankind applied? The rich had no commerce, the poor no employment; war and the sword was the great field of honour, the stage of preferment; and you have scarce a man eminent in the world for anything before that time, but for a furious outrageous falling upon his fellow-creatures, like Nimrod, and his successors of modern memory.
The world is now daily increasing in experimental knowledge; and let no man flatter the age, with pretending that we are arrived at a perfection of discoveries.
What's now discover'd only serves to show
THE WASTE OF LIFE.
From the Pennsylvania Gazette, No. 404, Nov. 18, 1736.
Anergus was a gentleman of good estate; he was bred to no business, and could not contrive how to waste his hours agreeably: he had no relish for any of the proper works of life, nor any taste at all