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as the ill hand and vicious manner of our poets, which needs redress.
And thus at last we are returned to our old article of advice: that main preliminary, of self-study and inward converse, which we have found so much wanting in the authors of our time. They should add the wisdom of the heart to the talk and exercise of the brain, in order to bring proportion and beauty into their works. That their composition and vein of writing may be natural and free, they should settle matters in the first place with themselves. And, having gained a mastery here, they may easily, with the help of their genius, and a right use of art, command their audience, and establish a good taste.
But the most remarkable philosophical work of this time, at least in a literary point of view, is Mandeville's Fable of the Bees Bernard de Mandeville was a native of Holland, in which country he was born about the year 1670; but, after having studied medicine and taken his doctor's degree, he came over to England about the end of that century, and he resided here till his death in 1733. His Fable of the Bees originally appeared in 1708, in the form of a poem of 400 lines in octosyllabic verse, entitled “The Grumbling Hive, or Knaves turned Honest, and it was not till eight years afterwards that he added the prose notes which make the bulk of the first volume of the work as we now have it. The second volume, or part, which consists of a series of six dialogues, was not published till 1729. The leading idea of the book is indicated by its second title, “Private Vices Public Benefits ;”-in other words, what are called and what really are vices in themselves, and in the individual indulging them, are nevertheless, in many respects,
serviceable to the community. Mandeville holds in fact, to quote the words in which he sums up his theory at the close of his first volume, “that neither the friendly qualities and kind affections that are natural to man, nor the real virtues he is capable of acquiring by reason and selfdenial, are the foundation of society ; but that what we call evil in this world, moral as well as natural, is the grand principle that makes us sociable creatures, the solid basis, the life and support of all trades and employments without exception ; that there we must look for the true origin of all arts and sciences ; and that the moment evil ceases the society must be spoiled, if not totally destroyed.” The doctrine had a startling appearance thus nakedly announced ; and the book occasioned a great commotion;
but it is now generally admitted that, whatever may be the worth or worthlessness of the philosophical system propounded in it, the author's object was not an immoral one. Independently altogether of its general principles and conclusions, the work is full both of curious matter and vigorous writing. As it is one of the books more talked of than generally known, we will make room for a few extracts. Our first shall be a part of the exposition of the evil and the good of gin-drinking -an English popular vice which, we may just remark, was carried in that day to a much greater excess than at present, whatever certain modern indications, viewed by themselves, might lead us to think :
Nothing is more destructive, either in regard to the health or the vigilance and industry of the poor, than the infamous liquor, the name of which, derived from juniper berries in Dutch, is now by frequent use, and the laconic spirit of the nation, from a word of middling length shrunk into a monosyllable, intoxicating Gin, that charms the inactive, the desperate and crazy of either sex, and makes the starving not behold his rags and nakedness with stupid indolence, or banter both in senseless laughter and more insipid jests : it is a fiery lake, that sets the brain in flame, burns up the entrails, and scorches every part within ; and at the same time a Lethe of oblivion, in which the wretch immersed drowns his most pinching cares, and, with his reason, all anxious reflection on brats that cry for food, hard winters, frosts, and horrid empty home.
In hot and adust tempers, it makes men quarrelsome, renders 'em brutes and savages, sets 'em on to fight for nothing, and has often been the cause of murder. I has broke and destroyed the strongest constitutions, thrown 'em into consumptions, and been the fatal and immediate occasion of apoplexies, frenzies, and sudden death. But, as these latter mischiefs happen but seldom, they might be overlooked and connived at; but this cannot be said of the many diseases that are familiar to the liquor, and which are daily and hourly produced by it: such as loss of appetite, fevers, black and yellow jaundice, convulsions, stone and gravel, dropsies, and leucophlegmacies.
Among the doating admirers of this liquid poison, many of the meanest rank, from a sincere affection to the commodity itself, become dealers in it, and take delight to help others to what they love themselves. But, as these starvelings commonly drink more than their gains, they seldom by selling mend the wretchedness of condition they laboured under whilst they were only buyers. In the fag-end and outskirts of the town, and all places of the vilest resort, it is sold in some part or other of almost every house, frequently in cellars, and sometimes in the garret.
The petty traders in this Stygian comfort are supplied by others in somewhat higher station, that keep professed brandy shops, and are as little to be envied as the former ; and among the middling people I know not a more miserable shift for a livelihood than their calling. Whoever would thrive in it must, in the first place, be of a watchful and suspicious as well as a bold and resolute temper, that he may not be imposed upon by cheats and sharpers, nor out-bullied by the oaths and imprecations of hackneycoachmen and foot-soldiers ; in the second, he ought to be a dabster at gross jokes and loud laughter, and have all the winning ways to allure customers, and draw out their money, and be well versed in the low jests and railleries the mob make use of to banter prudence and frugality. He must be affable and obsequious to the most despicable ; always ready and officious to help a porter down with his load, shake hands with a basketwoman, pull off his hat to an oyster-wench, and be familiar with a beggar; with patience and good humour he must be able to endure the filthy actions and viler language of nasty drabs and the loudest rake-hells, and without a frown or the least aversion bear with all the stench and squalor, noise and impertinence, that the utmost indigence, laziness, and ebriety can produce in the most shameless and abandoned vulgar.
The vast number of the shops I speak of throughout the city and suburbs are an astonishing evidence of the many seducers that in a lawful occupation are necessary to the introduction and increase of all the sloth, sottishness, want, and misery, which the abuse of strong waters is the immediate cause of, to lift above mediocrity perhaps half a score men that deal in the same commodity by wholesale; whilst among the retailers, though qualified as I required, a much greater number are broke and ruined, for not abstaining from the Circean cup they hold out to others, and the more fortunate are their whole life-time obliged to take the uncommon pains, endure the hardships, and swallow all the ungrateful and shocking things I named, for little or nothing beyond a bare sustenance and their daily bread.
The shortsighted vulgar, in the chain of causes, can seldom see further than one link; but those who can enlarge their view, and will give themselves the leisure of gazing on the prospect of concatenated events, may, in a hundred places, see good spring up and pullulate from evil, 3 naturally as chickens do from eggs. The money that
arises from the duties upon malt is a considerable part of the national revenue; and, should no spirits be distilled from it, the public treasure would prodigiously suffer on that head. But, if we would set in a true light the many advantages, and large catalogue of solid blessings, that accrue from and are owing to the evil I treat of, we are to consider the rents that are received, the ground that is tilled, the tools that are made, the cattle that are employed, and, above all, the multitude of
that are maintained by the variety of labour required in husbandry, in malting, in carriage, and distillation, before we can have that produce of malt which we call Low Wines, and is but the beginning from which the various spirits are afterwards to be made.
Besides this, a sharp-sighted good-humoured man might pick up abundance of good from the rubbish which I have all Aung away for evil. He would tell me, that, whatever sloth and sottishness might be occasioned by the abuse of malt spirits, the moderate use of it was of inestimable benefit to the poor, who could purchase no cordials of higher prices; that it was a universal comfort, not only in cold and weariness, but most of the afflictions that are peculiar to the necessitous, and had often to the most destitute supplied the places of meat, drink, clothes, and lodging. That the stupid indolence in the most wretched condition occasioned by those composing draughts, which I complained of, was a blessing to thousands; for that certainly those were the happiest who felt the least pain. As to diseases, he would say that, as it caused some, so it cured others, and that, if the excess in those liquors had been sudden death to some few, the habit of drinking them daily prolonged the lives of many whom once it agreed with ; that, for the loss sustained from the insignificant quarrels it created at home, we were overpaid in the advantage we received from it abroad, by upholding the courage of soldiers and animating the sailors to the combat; and that in the two last wars no considerable victory had been obtained without it.