Page images

that would have fitted him admirably as a novelist or moralist, was a nitive of Dort, in Holland. He studied medicine, anı came over 10 England to practise his profession. His first publications were in rhyme, but he had nothing of the poet's ‘vision and faculty divinc.? Early in life (about 1699) he published a string of sarcastic verses entitled the 'Grumbling Hive, or Knaves Turned Honest,' which be reprinted in 1714 with the addition of long explanatory notes, and an 'Inquiry into the Origin of Moral Viriue,' giving to the whole the title afierwards so well known, the 'Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices Public Benefits.' Previous to the latter work he had published 'Esop Dressed,' • Typhon in Verse,' and the 'Planter's Charity,' all in 1704 He enlarged his principal work, the 'Fable of the Beis ;' and in 1729 it was rendered more conspicuous by being presented to the grand jury of Middlesex on account of its immoral and pernicious tendency. Bishop Berkeley answered the arguments of the · Fable, and Mandeville replied in Letters to Dion. He also published *Free Thoughts on Religion,' and 'An Inquiry into the Origin of Honour, and the U-efulness of Christianity in War' (1732), both of which, like his ‘Fable,' were of questionable tendency.

The satire of Mandeville is general, not individual; yet his examples are strong and lively pictures. He describes the faults and corruptions of different professions and forms of society, and then attempts to shew that they are subservient to the grandeur and worldly happiness of the whole. If mankind, he says, could be cured of the failings they are naturally guilty of, they would cease to be capable of forming vast, poient, and polite societies. The fallacy of this theory, as Johnson says, is that be defines neither vices nor benefits. He confounds innocent pleasures and luxuries, which bene ciit society, with their vicious excesses, which are destructive of order and government. His object was chiefly to divert the reader, being conscious that mankind are not easily reasoned out of their follies. Another of the paradoxes of Mandeville is, that charity schools, anı all sorts of education, are injurious to the lower classes. The view which he takes of human nature is low and degrading, enough to have been worthy the adoption of Swift; and many of his descriptions are not inferior to those of the dean Some of liis opinions on economic questions are admirably expressed. 'Let the value of gold or silver,' he says, “either risc or fall

, the enjoyment of all societis will ever depend upon the fruits of the earth and the labour of the people; both which joined together are more certain, a more inexhaustible, and a more real treasure than the gold of Brazil or the silver of Potosi.'

Division of Labour. If we trace the most flourishing nations in their origin, wo shall find that, in the remote beginnings of every society, the richest and most considerable men among them were a great while destitute of a great many comforts of life that are now cijoyed by the meanest and most bumble wretches; so that mays things which were once looked upon as the inventions of luxury are now allowed even to those that are 80 miserably poor as to become the objects of public charity, nay, counted so necessary that we think no human creature ought to want them. A man would be laughed at that should discover luxury in the plain cress of a poor creature that walks along in a thick parish gown, and a coars: shirt underneath it; and yet what a number of people, how many different trades, and what a variety of skili and tools, must be employed to have the most ordinary Yorkshire cloth! What depth of thought and ingenuity, what toil and labour, and what length of time must it have cost, before man could learn from a seed to raise and prepare so useful a product as linen!

What a bustle is there to be made in several parts of the world before a fine scarlet or crimson cloth can be produced ; what multiplicity of trades and artificers must be employed! Not only such as are obvious, as wool-combers, spinners, the weaver, the cloth-worker, the scourer, the dyer, the setter, the drawer, and the packer ; but others that are more remote, and might seem foreign to it—as the millwright, the pewterer, and the chemist, which yet are all necessary, as well as a great number of other handicrafts, to have the tools, utensils, and other implements belonging to the trades already named. But all these things are done at home, and may be performed without extraordinary fatigue or danger; the most frightful prospect is left behind, when we reflect on the toil

and hazard that are to be undergone abroad, the vast seas we are to go over, the different climates we are to endure, and the several nations we must be obliged to for their assistance. Spain alone, it is trne, might furnish us with wool to make the finest cloth ; but what skill and pains, what experience and jngenuity, are required to dye it of those beautiful colours ! How widely are the drugs and other ingredients dispersed through the universe that are to meet in one kettle! Alum,

indeed, we have of our own; argot we might have from the Rhine, and vitriol from Hungary: all this is in Europe. But then for saltpetre in quantity we are forced to go as far as the East Indies. Cochenil, unknown to the ancients, is not much nearer to us, though in a quite different part of the earth; we buy it, ?tis true, from the Spaniards; but, not being their product, they are forced to fetch it for us from the remotest corner of the new world in the West Indies. Whilst so many sailors are broiling in the sun and sweltered with heat in the east and west of us, another set of them are freezing in the north to fetch potashes from Russia.

Flattery of the Great. If you ask me where to look for those beautiful shining qualities of primeministers, and the great favourites of privces, that are so finely painted iu dedications, addresses, epitaphs, funeral-sermons, and inscriptions, I answer, There, and nowhere else. Where would you look for the excellency of a statue but in that part which you see of it? 'Tis the polished outside only that has the skill and labour of the sculptor to boast of; what is out of sight is untouched. Would you break the head or cut open the breast to look for the brains or the heart, you would only shew your ignorance, and destroy the workmanship. This has often made me compare the virtues of great men to your large china jars : they make a fine show, and are ornamental even to a chimney. One would, by the bulk they appear in, and the value that is set upon them, think they might be very useful; but look into a thousand of them, and you will find nothing in them but dust and cobwebs.

Pomp and Superfluity. If the great ones of the clergy, as well as the laity, of any country whatever, had ño value for earthiy pleasures, and did not endeavour to gratify their appetites, why are envy and revenge so raging among them, and all the other passions, improved and refined upon in courts of princes more than anywhere else; and why are their repasts, their recreations, and whole manner of living, always such as are approved of, coveted, and imitated by the most sensual people of the saine country? If, despising all visible decorations, they were only in love with the embellishments of the mind, why should they borrow so many of the implements, and make use of the most darling toys, of the luxurious ? Why should a lord treasurer, or a bishop, or even the Grand Signior, or the Pope of Rome, to be good and virtuous, and endeavour the conquest of his passions, have occasion for greater revenues, richer furniture, or a more numerous attendance as to personal service, thin a private man? What virtue is it the exercise of which requires so much pomp and superfluity as are to be seen by all men in power? A man has as much opportunity to practise temperance that has but one dish at a meal, as he that is constantly served with three courses and a dozen dishes in each. One may exercise as much patience and be as full of self-denial on a few flocks, without curtains or tester, as in a velvet bed that is sixteen foot high. The virtuous possessions of the mind are neither charge nor burden: a man may bear misfortunes with fortitude in a garret, forgive injuries afoot, and be chaste, though he has not a shirt to his back; and therefore I shall never believe but that an indifferent sculler, if he was intrusted with it, might carry all the learning and religion that one man can contain,

as well as a barge with six oars, especially if it was but to cross from Lambeth to Westminister; or that humility is sc ponderous a virtue, that it requires six horses to draw it.


DE LA RIVIERE MANLEY, a female novelist, dramatist, and political writer, enjoyed some celebrity among the wits of the Queen Anne period. Neither her life nor writings will bear a close scrutiny, but she appears to have been unfortunate in her youth. She was the daughter of a brave and accomplished (fficer, Sir Roger Manler, governor of Guernsey, and one of the authors of the Turkish Spj. Sir Roger died while his daugliter was young, and she fell to the charge of a Mr. Manley, her cousin, who drew her into a mock-marriage-he had a wife living—and in about three years basely deserte! her. Her life henceforward was that of an author liy profession, anı a woman of intrigue. She wrote three plays, the • Royal Mistress,' the Lost Lover,' and 'Lucius'—the last being honoured by a prilogue from the pen of Steele, and an epilogue by Prior. Her most famous work was the 'Atalantis, a political romance or satire, fullof court and party scandal, directed against the Whig statesmen and public characters connected with the Revolution of 1688. This work was honoured with a state prosecution. The printer and publisher were seized, and Mrs. Manley, having generously come forward to relieve them from the responsibility, was committed to custody. She was soon liberated and discharged, and a Tory ministry succeeding, she was in bigh favour. Swift, in his 'Journal to Stella' (January 28, 1711-12), draws this portrait of Mrs. Manley: 'she has very generous principles for one of her sort, and a great deal of good sense and invention: she is about forty, very homely, and very fat.' She found favour, however, with Swift's friend, Alderman Barber, in whose house she lived for many years, and there she died in 1724. When Swift relinquished the 'Examiner, Mrs. Manley conducted it for some time, the dean supplying hints, and she appears to have been a ready and effective political writer. All her works, however, i avo sunk into oblivion. Her novels are worthless, extravagant productions, and the 'Atalantis' is only remembered from a line in Pope. The Baron, in the Rape of the Lock,' says:

As long as 'Atalantis' shall be read, his honour, name, and praisc shall live; but they have had a much -more durable existence.

ANDREW FLETCHER OF SALTOUN. ANDREW FLETCHER, born in 1653, the son of a Scottish knight, succeeded early to the family estate of Sultoun, and represented the shire of Lothian in the Scottish parliament in the reign of Charles II. He opposed the arbitrary designs of the Duke of York, afterwards James II, and retired to Holland. His estate was confiscated; but he returned to England with the Duke of Monmouth in 1685. Happening, in a personal scuffle, to kill the mayor of Lynn, Fletcher again went abroad, and traveled in Spain. He returned at the period of the Revolution, and took an active part in Scottish affairs. His opinions were republican, and he was of a baughty unbending temper; “brave as the sword he wore,' according to a contemporary, and bold as a lion: a sure friend, and an irreconcilable enemy : would lose his life readily to serve his country, and would not do a base thing to save it.' Fletcher opposed the union of Scotland with England in 1707, believing, with many zealous but narrow-sighted patriots of that day, that it would eclipse the glory of ancient Caledonia. He died in 1716. Fletcher wrote several political discourses. One of these, entitled 'An Account of a Conversation concerning a Right Regulation of Governments for the common Good of Mankind, in a Letter to the Marquis of Montrose, the Earls of Rothes, Roxburghe, and Haddington, from London, the First of December,' 1703, is forcibly written, and contains some strong appeals in favour of Scottish independence, as well as some just and manly sentiments, In this letter occurs a saying often quoted, and which has been-hy Lord Brougham and others---erroneously ascribed to the Earl of Chatham : *I knew a very wise man that believed that if a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation. The newspaper may now be said to have supplanted the ballad; yet, during the war with France, the naval songs of Dibdin fanned the flame of national courage and patriotism. An excessive admiration of the Grecian and Roman republics led Fletcher to eulogise even the slavery that prevailed in those states. He represents their condition as happy and useful; and, as a contrast to it, he paints the state of the lowest class in Scotland in colours, that, if true, shew bow frightfully disorganised the country was at that period. In bis ‘Second Discourse on the Affairs of Scotland, 1698, there occurs the following sketch :

State of Scotland in 1698. There are at this day in Scotland—besides a great many poor families very meanly provided for by the church-boxes, with others who, by living on bad food, fall into various diseases—two hundred thousand people begging from door to door. These are not only noway advantageous, but a very grievous burden to so poor a country. And though the number of them be perhaps double to what it was formerly, by reason of this present great distress, yet in all times there have been about one hundred thousand of those vagabonds, who have lived without any regard or subjection either to the laws of the land, or even those of God and nature. No mag strate could ever be informed, or discover, which way one in a hundred of these wretches died, or that ever they were baptised. Many murders have been discovered among them; and they are not only a most unspeakable oppression to poor tenantswbo, if they give not bread, or some kind of provision, to perhaps forty such villaids in oue day, are sure to be insulted by them—but they rob many poor people who live in houses distant from any neighbourhood. In years of plenty, many thousands of them meet together in the mountains, where they feast and riot for many days; and at country-weddings, markets, burials, and the like public occasions, they are to be seen, both men and women, perpetually drunk, cursing, blasphemning, and fighting together. These are such outrageous disorders, that it were better for the nation they were sold to the galleys or West Indies, than that ihey should continue any longer to be a burden and curse upon us.

M. MARTIN. The first account of the Hebrides was published in 1703. It is entitled 'A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland,' by M. MARTIN, Gent. The author was à native of Skye. Dr. Johnson had read Martin's book when he was very young, and was particularly struck with the St. Kilda man’s notion that the High Church of Glasgow bad been hollowed out of a rock. This notion' had probably struck Addison also, as in the Spectator' (No. 50) he makes, as Mr. Croker has remarked, the Indian king suppose that St. Paul's was carved out of a rock. Martin's work is poorly written, but the novelty of the information it contains, and even the credulity of the writer, give it a certain interest and value. He gives a long account of the second-sight, or taish, as it is called in Gaelic, in which he was a firm believer, though he admitted that it had greatly declined.

The Second-sight. The second-sight is a singular faculty of seeing an otherwise invisible object, without any previous means used by the person that sees it for that end. The vision makes such a lively impression upon the seer, that they neither see nor think of anything else except the vision, as long as it continues; and then they appear pensive or jovial, according to the object which was represented to them. At the sight of a vision the eyelids of the person are erected, and the eyes continue staring until the object vanish.

If an object is seen early in a morning (which is not frequent), it will be accomplished in a few hours afterwards ; if at noon, it will cominonly be accomplished that very day; if in the cvening, perhaps that night; if after candles be liglīted, it will be accomplished that night; the latter always in accomplishment by weeks, months, and sometimes years, according to the time of night the vision is seen. When a shroud is perceived about one, it is a sure prognostic of death : the time is judged according to the height of it about the person.

If a woman is seen standing at a man's left hand, it is a presage that she will be his wife, whether they be married to others, or unmarried at the time of the apparition If two or three women are seen at once standing near a man's left hand, she that is next him will undoubtedly be his wife first, and so on. To see a seat empty at the time of one's sitting in it, is a presage of that person's death quickly after.

Dress in the Western Islands. The plaid wore by the men is made of fine woo!; the thread as fine as can be made of that kind; it consists of divers colours, and there is a great deal of ingenuity required in sorting the colours, so as to be agreeable to the nicest fancy. For this reason the women are at great pains, first, to give an exact pattern of the plaid upon a piece of wood, having the number of every thread of the stripe on it. The length of it is commonly seven double ells; the one end hangs by the middle over the left arm, the other going round the body, hangs by the end over the left arm also.

« PreviousContinue »