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that Pope's Essay was first advertised in a previous number of the Spectator, dated May 15, in the same year. Oct. 16. Dipped into the Spectator. In the 466th number, it is asserted “that no one was ever a good dancer that had not a good understanding.” This may perhaps be going too far; but I believe it may safely be affirmed of good singing. In no. 469, it is, “observed that men of learning generally discharge business with more honesty than men of the world, because the former have been in the habit of finding virtue extolled and vice stigmatized; the latter of seeing vice triumphant and virtue discountenanced.” A severe remark, rendered ten times more so by the air of simplicity with which it is stated. Nov. 2. Lord C– [Chedworth] sate with me in the evening. Had some conversation on the merits of our public speakers. Lord Thurlow he considered as by far the ablest speaker in the House of Lords; then the Lord Chancellor Loughborough; and next Lord Lansdowne. The Duke of Bedford he represented as coarse and unscholarlike; Horsley as gorgeous; and Watson as majestic and impressive. Nov. 16. Read Ogden's Sermons on Prayer. They contain much original thought, most boldly and strikingly put, in modes which, as they burst abruptly from masculine sense and strong feeling, find an instant passage to the understanding and the heart. He proposes and abolishes objections with astonishing force, and is altogether the most awakening preacher to men of sense whom I have ever met with. I am much pleased with his beautiful metaphor in the sixth Sermon, when, speaking of the expansion of personal interest into social affection, he observes, “That the harshness of the original seed may wear out by cultivation, and the root of selfishness yield the fruit of love.” Nov. 20. Finished Warton's History of English Poetry. His diligence is indefatigable, and his learning stupendous; but I believe every reader, except a mere antiquary, will regret that, instead of a regular progressive history, he did not adopt the form of a critical disquisition, interspersed with anecdotes. His taste, which is frequently buried under piles of cumbrous erudition, would have had a freer scope. The prodigious extent and depth of Warton's researches astonish me the more, as I have been told by a brother collegian, who knew him well, that he was a lounger and idler in the morning, willing to execute any Under-graduate's thesis, to entice him to fishing or badger-hunting; and highly social after dinner, studiously avoiding learned disquisitions. He seems to have possessed that true simplicity of character which usually accompanies real genius. Nov. 25. Read the first volume of Mrs. Piozzi's Travels in Italy. Tolerably amusing, but for a pert flippancy, and ostentation of learning. Mrs. Radcliffe has taken from this work her vivid description of Venice, and of the Brenta, but oh how improved in the transcript. Mrs. Piozzi, though a Welshwoman, speaks as confidently as if she had seen it, of a beautiful lake on the summit of Snowden. The most elevated lake on that mountain is at least a thousand feet below its apex.
Looked into the second volume of Bacon's Essays, collected, but very ill arranged, by Willymot. With what amplitude of comprehension does this wonderful man embrace, with what exactness of discrimination does he distinguish, and with what splendid felicity of fancy does he illumine, whatever subject comes before him ' Yet Bacon can occasionally trifle, as in discussing the nature of Rhetoric, in the 22d chapter.
Dec. 14. Gibbon I detect a frequent poacher in the Philosophical Essays of Bolingbroke: as in his representation of the unsocial character of the Jewish religion; and in his insinuation of the suspicions cast by succeeding miracles, acknowledged to be false, on prior ones contended to be true. Indeed it seems not unlikely that he caught the first hint of his theological chapters from this work.
Dec. 16. Read the two first of Boccacio's Novels. He tells his story with infinite spirit, pleasantry, and humour; but what confounds my reasoning, is the astonishing liberties he takes in ridiculing the Church. How, we are tempted to ask, could such provoking exposures, more obnoxious by half than the most depraved heresy, be patiently endured by a power so jealous of its authority as the Church of Rome 2 Can we ascribe the forbearance to the contempt of injury which conscious pre-eminence and security sometimes inspires 2 Or did it spring from a real sense of demerit, and a dread of still further exposing flagrant and indefensible abuses 2 I am quite at a loss to determine.
Jan. 1. In looking over some papers this morning, I met with the following curious and unpublished letter of Dr. Franklin, discussing some topics of considerable interest with admirable good sense and sagacity, characteristic of its author. It is dated Philadelphia, May 9, 1753, and is addressed to his friend Peter Collinson, Esq.
“I thank you for the kind and judicious remarks you have made on my little piece. I have often observed with wonder that temper of the poorer English labourers which you mention, and acknowledge it to be pretty general. When any of them happen to come here, where labour is much better paid than in England, their industry seems to diminish in equal proportion. But it is not so with the German labourers: they retain the habitual industry and frugality they bring with them, and receiving higher wages, an accumulation arises that makes them all rich. When I consider that the English are the offspring of Germans, that the climate they live in is much of the same temperature, when I see nothing in nature that should create this difference, I am tempted to suspect it must arise from constitution; and I have sometimes doubted whether the laws peculiar to England, which compel the rich to maintain the poor, have not given the
latter a dependance that very much lessens the care of providing against the wants of old age. “I have heard it remarked that the poor in Protestant countries, on the Continent of Europe, are generally more industrious than those of Popish countries. May not the more numerous foundations in the latter for relief of the poor, have some effect towards rendering them less provident? To relieve the misfortunes of our fellow-creatures is concurring with the Deity, it is godlike ; but if we provide encouragement for laziness, and supports for folly, may it not be found fighting against the order of God and Nature, which perhaps has appointed want and misery as the proper punishments for, and cautions against, as well as necessary consequences of, idleness and extravagance? Whenever we attempt to amend the scheme of Providence, and to interfere with the government of the world, we had need be very circumspect, lest we do more harm than good. In New England they once thought blackbirds useless, and mischievous to the corn. They made efforts to destroy them. The consequence was, the blackbirds were diminished; but a kind of worm which devoured their grass, and which the blackbirds used to feed on, increased prodigiously; then, finding their loss in grass much greater than their saving in corn, they wished again for their blackbirds. “We had here some years since a Transylvanian Tartar, who had travelled much in the East, and came hither merely to see the West, intending to go home through the Spanish West Indies, China, &c. He asked me one day, what I thought might be the reason that so many and such numerous nations, as the Tartars in Europe and Asia, the Indians in America, and the Negroes in Africa, continued a wandering, careless life, and refused to live in cities, and cultivate the arts they saw practised by the civilized parts of mankind? While I was considering what answer to make him, he said, in his broken English, “God make man for Paradise. He make him for live lazy. Man make God angry. God turn him out of Paradise, and bid workee. Man no love workee; he want to go to Paradise again; he want to live lazy. So all mankind love lazy." However this may be, it seems certain that the hope of becoming at some time of life free from the necessity of care and labour, together with fear of penury, are the main springs of most people's industry. To those, indeed, who have been educated in elegant plenty, even the provision made for the poor may appear misery; but to those who have scarce ever been better provided for, such provision may seem quite good and sufficient. These latter then have nothing to fear worse than their present condition, and scarce hope for any thing better than a parish maintenance. So that there is only the difficulty of getting that maintenance allowed while they are able to work, or a little shame they suppose attending it, that can in
duce them to work at all; and what they do will only be from hand to mouth.
“The proneness of human nature to a life of ease, of freedom from care and labour, appear strongly in the little success that has hitherto attended every attempt to civilize our American Indians. In their present way of living, almost all their wants are supplied by the spontaneous productions of nature, with the addition of very little labour, if hunting and fishing may indeed be called labour, where game is so plenty. They visit us frequently, and see the advantages that arts, sciences, and compact societies procure us. They are not deficient in natural understanding; and yet they have never shown any inclination to change their manner of life for ours, or to learn any of our arts. When an Indian child has been brought up among us, taught our language, and habituated to our customs, yet if he goes to see his relatives, and makes one Indian ramble with them, there is no persuading him ever to return. And that this is not natural to them merely as Indians, but as men, is plain from this, that when white persons, of either sex, have been taken prisoners by the Indians, and lived awhile with them, though ransomed by their friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a short time they become disgusted with our manner of life, and the care and pains that are necessary to support it, and take the first opportunity of escaping again into the woods, from whence there is no redeeming them. One instance I remember to have heard, where the person was brought home to possess a good estate; but finding some care necessary to keep it together, he relinquished it to a younger brother, reserving to himself nothing but a gun and a watch-coat, with which he took his way again into the wilderness. + + + + + + * “So that I am apt to imagine that close Societies subsisting by labour and art, arose first not from choice but from necessity, when numbers being driven by war from their hunting-grounds, and prevented by seas, or by other nations, from obtaining other hunting-grounds, were crowded together into some narrow territories, which without labour could not afford them food. However, as matters now stand with us, care and industry seem absolutely necessary to our well-being. They should therefore have every encouragement we can invent, and not one motive to diligence be subtracted, and the support of the poor should not be by maintaining them in idleness, but by employing them in some kind of labour suited to their abilities of body, &c. as I am informed begins to be of late the practice in many parts of England, where workhouses are erected for that purpose. If these were general, I should think the poor would be more careful, and work voluntarily to lay up something for themselves against a rainy day, rather than run the risk of being obliged to work at the pleasure of others for a bare subsistence, and that too under confinement. The little value Indians set on what we prize so highly, under the name of learning, appears from a pleasant passage that happened some years since, at a treaty between some Colonies, and the Six Nations. When every thing had been settled to the satisfaction of both sides, and nothing remained but a mutual exchange of civilities, the English Commissioners told the Indians that they had in their country a college for the instruction of youth, who were there taught various languages, arts, and sciences; that there was a particular foundation in favour of the Indians to defray the expense of the education of any of their sons, who should desire to take the benefit of it: and said, if the Indians would accept the offer, the English would take half a dozen of their brightest lads, and bring them up in the best manner. The Indians, after consulting on the proposals, replied; that it was remembered that some of their youths had formerly been educated at that college, but that it had been observed that for a long time after they returned to their friends, they were absolutely good for nothing; being neither acquainted with the true methods of killing deer, catching beavers, or surprising an enemy. The proposition they looked on, however, as a mark of kindness, and good will of the English, to the Indian nations which merited a grateful return : and therefore, if the English gentlemen would send a dozen or two of their children to Opondago, the Great Council would take care of their education, bring them up in what was really the best manner, and make men of them. “I am perfectly of your mind that measures of great temper are necessary with the Germans; and am not without apprehensions that, through their indiscretion, or ours, or both, great disorders may one day arise among us. Those who come hither are generally the most stupid of their own nation, and as ignorance is often attended with credulity, when knavery would mislead it; and with suspicion when honesty would set it right; and as few of the English understand the German language, and so cannot address them either from the press or the pulpit, 'tis almost impossible to remove any prejudices they may entertain. Their clergy have very little influence on the people, who seem to take a pleasure in abusing and discharging the minister on every trivial occasion. Not being used to liberty, they know not how to make a modest use of it. And as Kolben says of the young Hottentots, that they are not esteemed men until they have shown their manhood by beating their mothers, so these seem not to think themselves free, till they can feel their liberty in abusing and insulting their teachers. Thus they are under no restraint from ecclesiastical government; they behave, however, submissively enough at present to the civil government, which I wish they may continue to do, for I remember when they modestly declined intermeddling in our elections, but now they come in droves and carry all before them, except in one or two counties. Few of their children in the country know English. They import many books from Germany; and of the six printing-houses in the provinces, two are entirely German, two half German, half English, and but two entirely English. They have one German newspaper, and one half German. Advertisements intended