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OF THE POWER OF CUSTOM.
Custom is not ill defined to be another Nature, and certainly there is not any thing so much mistress of our inclinations and manners, or that hath so long a being with mankind. Therefore it is with so much difficulty persons change their notions of policy or religion, which have been established in their minds from their early infancy; their opinions, however wrong, seem true, and the pleasing familiarity with them takes off all those deformities which another may behold. From hence it is that almost every nation censures the laws, customs, and doctrines of every other as strange and unjust ; but are confirmed in their own follies beyond a possibility of conviction. The difference of customs and laws of nations is so prodigious, that it may not be unpleasant to instance some, which are esteemed by those who are educated in them as entirely consistent with justice, humanity and politeness. There are a people who account it the greatest act of tenderness, piety, and religion to kill their parents when they come to such an age, and then eat them. There are kingdoms where children havo no right to inheritance, and brothers and nephews are accounted the next heirs; where chastity in unmarried women is in no esteem; they may lawfully, and without loss of reputation, be prostitutes, yct, when married, they are miracles of chastity and fidelity to their husbands. Where they never have any marriages, and therefore children only own their mothers, not being able to guess at the father. Where women are looked on with such contempt, that they kill all the native women and purchase wives of their neighbours to supply their use. Where it is the fasbion to turn their backs on him they salute, and never look upon the man they intend to honour. Where the greatest beaus stink most, and instead of a ribband they wear cross their shoulders as a badge of honour, the guts of a sheep. It would be endless to quote all the absurdities which Custom in different places warrants to be reasonable. By these instances we see the grossest follies are accounted sacred if customary, and the fashion handsome and agreeable, though never so shocking to an unbiassed spectator.
As custom and education have such strong prevalency over the minds of men, how careful should parents be in giving their children not a narrow confined method, but a generous and noble way of thinking; to teach them even from their youth, that there are errors, and that when, with an impartial inquiry, they find them, they should know how to retract them, and not to let the false step they made at their first setting out keep them in a wrong path through the whole journey of life afterwards; for too often, as Mr. Dryden
The tythe he took scarce press'd his planched floor
gave up all for comforts to the poor,
While many a rustic from his pious tongue
- Eternal sileńce wraps me in her vest, Some kindred tongue may kindly ask to know
What mode of faith inspired a parent's breasta
With Atheist infidel I never trod
Nor smil'd concurrent to the ptic's nod,
But charm’d with nature's laws,
Ador'd the great first cause,
Still as if nature fear'd the spot should fade
Such was our priest, and still the rustic's tell
T. N. SINGULAR ANECDOTES.
During the extreme distresses to which Louis Duke of Anjou was reduced, in his unfortunate expedition against Na. ples, he dispatched the Signeur de Craon into France, to procure a supply of money, but this Nobleman after having raised a considerable sum, instead of carrying it to his master, squandered it at Venice, 'in entertainments and courtezans. On his return to Paris, the Duke of Berry accused him as the author of his brother's death; and having afterwards committed assassination in the streets, he was obliged to take shelter in the Bretagne, where the Duke received and protected him. Charles (the Sixth King of France) instigated by his Ministers, demanded the criminal; and on the Duke's refusal, prepared to seize him by force.' He set out in person, at the head of a considerable army. As he continued his march through a forest, between Mans and La Blecke, in the day-time, a tall man, black, and hideous, came from among the trees, and seizing his horse's bridle, cried out, “Arrete Roi! ou vas tue? Tu es trahi,"—then disappeared. The King, however, pursued his journey, in defiance of this denunciation; when a second accident, purely casual, produced on hiin effects the most violent and unhappy. It was in the month of August, and the heats were insupportable. A page, who carried the King's lance, being fallen asleep on his horse, let it fall upon a helmet which another bore before him; the noise which this caused, the sight of the lance, and the words of the phantom returning all at once to the King's imagination, he thought they were going to deliver him to his enemies, and this apprehension working strongly on his senses, produced an instant fit of madness. He drew his sword, and striking furiously at all those about him, killed and wounded several, before any one had force or address enough to save him; they effected it at last. The King, spent with his efforts, fell into a sort of lethargic swoon, and in this condition they carried him, tied down in a cart, to the City of Mans. The story of the man in the wood, appears, at first sight, so apparently fictitious, that one should certainly be induced to Treat as such, if superadded to the universal testimony of the cotemporary writers, some of them did not give us reason to believe that the Duke of Burgundy set on foot this engine. He was the strict ally of the Duke of Bretagne; he had strongly opposed the King's march; he was become unnecessary and powerless. Charles had only just recovered from a fever at Amiens, in which he had given some symptoms of a disordered understanding, which the phantom and fright were extremely calculated, in that superstitious and barbarous age, to frighten into frenzy..
This miserable Princess (Charles the Fifth's mother) finished her life before the Emperor's abdication. She survived her husband Arch Duke Philip, forty-nine years, and was above seventy at her own disease. Her attachment to him; and his untimely death, chiefly contributed to deprive her of her intellects. She was shut up in the Castle of Torde, sillas, almost abandoned, sleeping upon straw, which she sometimes wanted. Hér only recreation was to fight with cats, and to crawl upon the tapestry with which her a partments were hung. Such was the lamentable destiny of Fer. dinand and Isabella's daughter; of the mother of two Emperors and four Queens.
" TO THE ARTIFICIAL ROSE,'?
Respectfully inscribed to Miss Harriet B*
BY T. W.
Let others love, and worship paltry gold
The source from whence man's greatest evils flows,
And all enraptur'd love my blushing Rose. .
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G. Stobbs, Printer, Catheriuc Street, Strand.