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strong sensation : in other words it ture's powerful ties. We, doubt. is education,
less, are not all born with the same The fact, however, is not very disposition and propensities: the material, whether all men have an same misfortunes are very differequal aptitude at acquiring know. ently felt ; and a character destitute ledge, or not. Whatever they do of sensibility is no more to be adknow is the effect of education : mired for bearing them with comand admitting that it be impossible posure, than the immoveable rock to render every child equal to New. which the winds of heaven cannot ton, or Milton, it is still an object of shake. But when we behold a bethe highest importance to render it ing, born to an elevated station, enas wise as its faculties will allow. dowed with feelings of the most
Laying down this position, that lively and susceptible kind, piously man is born without ideas, and that submitting to the ordinations of a all his knowledge is acquired by wise Providence, yet supporting the education, I shall, in two or three wants of Nature by the exertions of subsequent letters, point out what his own hand; a kind of enthusiasappear to me the means best calcu- tic admiration seizes us, and we lated to render education more per can scarcely find words to express fect; for it is obvious to every one the emotions it inspires. who considers the subject ever so These observations have been exslightly, and who attends to the cited by the perusal of an anecdote manner in which children are treat- in a French work, entitled, “ Leted, that the present mode is misera. ters to Count de B
The bly defective.
most striking parts of this extraordinary relation I shall accurately extract, for the amusement of my
readers this month, merely abridging For the Literary Magazine. the circumstances, and by that
means rendering the account more OBSERVATIONS ON THE VICISSI• acceptable to a periodical work.
Sir Thomas Moyle, a celebrated
architect, having been employed to Exemplified by a Historical Anece build a large castle in the parish of dote.
Eastville, had frequently been struck
with the superior language and FOR the shortness of human life, manners of the master mason who a variety of comparisons have been superintended the work. When suggested ; not only by general ob- his mind was not occupied in giving servers, but by the wisest of men* ; directions to the labourers, he was yet it would be difficult to find a si- always intent upon a book, which mile perfectly applicable to the sir Thomas at length contrived to transitions which some characters obtain a glance of, and, to his astoare destined to undergo.
nishment, discovered it to be VirTo behold a good man struggling gil's Æneid. This discovery conwith adversity, and as it were ris. firmed him in the opinion which he ing superior to the poignancy of its had previously formed; and by shafts, is allowed to exalt the human those little delicate attentions which character to the most dignified si. excite friendly communication, he tuation which it is possible for it to at length received from the lips of attain. Courage may enable a man the mason the following extraordito brave danger ; apathy may ren
nary account: der him regardless of life ; for the “ Until the age of sixteen, I was heart which is incapable of at- boarded with a master, whose chief tachment feels not the force of Na. attention was devoted to the im
provement of my mind; and, dur. * Solomon.
ing that period, I was regularly vi
TUDES OF HUMAN LIFE.
laboured with sensations language eneinies, which
interview had given rise.
Behold my son ! ture of distance I could form no ac said he to the noblemen who surcurate idea ; to me it appeared an rounded him, at the same time amazing way ; but at length the pressing me fondly to his heart; carriage drove up to a most superb when I instantly recognized the building, and I was conducted stranger who had excited such sinthrough a suite of apartments fur- gular emotions at our interview a nished in the most elegant style.
few months before. 6 To.morrow “ After placing a chair for me, (said he), my child, I shall fight for
magnificently orna- my crown and kingdom : if fortune mented, my kind conductor took favours the undertaking, both will his leave, telling me, my father's be yours; and if victory crowns my friend would soon wait upon me, arms, I will openly proclaim you as which he did, before I had time to my adopted heir, though illegitimate l'evolve these extraordinary cir Should I be vanquished, carecumstances in my mind. He ap- fully, I conjure you, conceal the seproached me with extended arms, cret of your birth; for you will be and pressed me to his bosom. Mine surrounded a set of implacable
will drink up the last nerer can describe; but to give a drop of your blood !"
“ In vain I conjured him to let tempting to describe sensations me share the fate of battle ; on my which it would be impossible for the knees besought him to let me live power of language to paint, I shall or die by his side ; but no argument merely say, that I remained some could induce him to comply with time in London, exposed to all the my wishes; and again I was in- miseries of want. Chance at length trusted to my conductor's care. directed my footsteps to a house of "To your hand (said he, turning to entertainment, which some masons my companion) I commit a sacred used, with whom I entered into conand important trust;' presenting me versation, and inquired whether at the same moment with a port they would agree to find me in folio, and informing me its contents' work. I had felt the wants of nawould prevent me from knowing ture too powerfully, not to rejoice the miseries of want. Go, my at the means by which they were son (continued he); fulfil your des- supplied. My assiduity soon obtaintiny, at the same time embracing ed me the approbation of my masme with tears.
ter, who easily discovered that I « At this command I remained was not born to the situation which motionless. My guide led, or ra- I'filled. ther forced me away; as my father's « At the expiration of some years, mind was too much occupied by the my knowledge of the business was dangers which hung over him, to so perfect, that my employer invited allow any length of time to be de me to reside in his house, and treatyoted even to a son. Early the ed me with as much friendship and next morning I was conducted to kindness as if I had actually been an eminence, where I had an op- his son. This gentleman had risen portunity of observing the dreadful to the highest eminence in his procarnage which ensued ; and, shock- fession; the suavity of his manners ing to relate, in the midst of the could only be equalled by the intelslaughter, I beheld the author of my ligence of his mind. And he had existence fall. A sudden faintness a daughter-But to attempt desoverspread my faculties; my kneescribing her various attractions trembled; my eyes became dim; would be presumption ; for in her and casting an agonized look to- person were assembled all the virwards my protector, I fell senseless tues and graces which have ever to the ground. How long I remain- been ascribed to the sex. ed in this situation is uncertain. 6 In the society of this lovely Upon recovering my recollection, I creature, I experienced that refined looked in vain for my friend; for, gratification, which neither rank nor regardless of the sacred promise he splendour ever could impart; but had given to my father, he had my happiness was destined to resought his own safety in flight. ceive a dreadful interruption, by the This was not all; for he had se- sudden death of the author of her cured the port-folio, and left me as birth. Though I had carefully condestitute of the means of supporting cealed from my beloved's father existence, as a child newly born. I the secret of my own existence, I knew not even the spot where my resolved to impart it to her; and infancy had been nurtured, and had for ever resign those visionary not a single friend in the world! prospects of future grandeur, which
My father's troops were flying imagination frequently had formed. in 'every direction. Conceive, if Tenderness and astonishment markpossible, the wretched state to which ell her expressive features, whilst I was reduced. At that moment, I she listened to the vicissitudes of fortunately perceived a horse with. my life ; and, after pouring the balm out a rider, and mounting him, I of sympathy into my bosom, she amsoon found myself in the high road. ply compensated for all my sufferNot to tire your patience, by at- ings by blessing me with her hand,
By this angelic woman I have three men than to present to their notice children, who will for ever remain at this time a subject that may serve strangers to the noble stock from in some degree to elucidate the whence they sprang; for, though no causes and consequences of a revosigh for faded honours ever escapes lution among a people, and the my bosom, I cannot be answerable change in their morals, their reli. for the effect which a knowledge of gion, their taste, or their manners. their father's origin might produce I am invited to this consideration
from the gradual display of science Sir Thomas listened to this sin- in the times among all ranks, that gular recital with a mixture of cheers me with its influence, and emotion and astonishment, and im- prevents the possibility of my being mediately offered the son of Eng- misunderstood. land's tyrant an asylum in his The subject of revolution cannot house, with full liberty to act the be more advantageously entered insame as if he was its master; but to, than by carefully noticing the this the noble-minded man, with ex character of a people who have sufpressions of gratitude, refused ; de. fered this desperate change, as by claring he was perfectly satisfied comparing it with what it was, with his present situation; but wish- with what it now is, and at the ed to build a small house for his fa. same time with a reference to the mily at the extremity of his friend's state of other nations, we shall be park.
able to discover how far it now falls Of the truth of these extraordi. short of a wise or amiable character, nary circumstances, little doubt can and whether it has not changed for be entertained; and they are still the worse. more strongly impressed upon the The French of the old regime, or imagination, by the parish register rather of the vieille cour, were acof Eastville ; which states, that on cused of levity and inconstancy : dethe 22d of December, 1550, the body fects nearly synonimous, and which of Richard Plantagenet was inter- convey an idea of a flimsy and sured.
perficial cast of mind, capable of Upon this singular character's little solid reflection, and leading to history I shall not attempt making a conduct of inconsequence, any farther observation : no reader By a continual repetition of these of sensibility will be able to peruse opinions or assertions respecting the it with hearts totally unmoved ; for inconsequence of the French chathough we admire the calm philo- racter, all Europe became persuaded sophy of his feelings, he doubtless of its truth : the French themselves regretted the splendours he had lost. did not even attempt to refute it;
nay, some of them have imagined it necessary to acquire a reputation to
depreciate their own national chaFor the Literary Magazine.
racter, to make them more acceptable to strangers, and tacitly to be the means of receiving praise for their own judgment, as by such
opinions they thought they showed “ Fie on it ! 'tis an unweeded gar. how easily they could sacrifice parden that grows and runs to seed; tiality to the love of truth ; and bethings gross and rank in nature pos- side that merit, it attributed to the sess it merely.” SHAKSPEARE. unpatriot critic all exemption from
the defects he so ably censured. To the Editor, &c.
It will be perceived, however, SIR,
that in truth no national character PERHAPS there cannot be a had a right to arrogate to itself a more useful lesson to my country. superiority over that of the French,
ESSAY ON THE NATIONAL CHA
RACTER OF THE FRENCH.
as not any ever afforded fewer in- fairly extended round the globe. stances of levity and inconstancy in The' fondness for dress may be a matters of great importance ; and a weakness, but it is the weakness for the individual, perhaps the man of all mankind. The Chinese, the who is faithful to his religion, his Persians, and the Indians, like the king, and his honour, may claim French, have each of them a simi. the privilege of diversifying his lar infatuation ; and even the sabusiness and pleasures his own way, vages have it, who pierce their noswithout being accused of frivolity. trils to suspend rings to them, who One hour he may enjoy the society adorn their heads with feathers, of an amiable or accomplished wo and who paint their skins with the man, another he may study Bos- figures of animals.
The passion suet or Montesquieu, or turn over for ornament may be ridiculous ; the pages of a poet; sometimes he but is it not more ridiculous to think may laugh at the French theatre, that it is a merit to wear an illor amuse himself at the Italian; made or unbecoming dress, because sometimes he may join in a concert, it was the fashion of our ndfaor mix in the gaiety of the dance : thers? If the dignity of reason all these things he may do, and yet smiles at the youth who pleases fulfil the duties of his station in life. himself with the cut of a frock, or It is by properly understanding the delights in the cavalier air of a hat precept of Horace, “ blending the à la Suisse, what ought it to do at useful with the pleasurable," that the old bachelor, dressed in a forwe can give happiness to ourselves, mal cut brown coat with long sleeves or communicate it to others.
and a deep-crowned hat, that gives Nothing can show more forcibly him a mighty grave and solemn air, the contemptible arguments of con that reminds us of the “I see plainly fined minds, on the subject of na. enough the robe and the beard of tional character, than a view of the philosophy, but where is the philodifference in taste in different na- sopher ?» tions, and of different authors in There is, therefore, foiblesse pour each. The grave and majestic stile foiblesse; and the first has at least of the Spaniards, the gay and vola. something agreeable to recommend tile of the French, the forcible and it, besides the necessity of conformimpetuous of the English, the fine ing in some measure to the fashion and delicate of the Italians, the solid these little addenda do no injury to of the Germans; and as we find in the vast volume of a nation's chathe works of different authors of the racter, where the title-page presame nation the sublime of Corneille, sents morality and religion. the richness of Racine, the sense It was chiefly upon these grounds of Boileau, the gaiety of Moliere, of inconstancy of pursuit, and a fri. the strength of mind of Bossuet, volous fondness for dress, that the the delicacy of Fenelon, the noble Frenchman was found guilty ; but of Malherbe, the brilliancy of Fon- the national character then was tenelle, the naïveté of Fontaine, the pure, and the mind of the people rapidity of Bourdaloue, the insinu. uninjured. For fourteen centuries ation of Massillon, the profundity it was 'marked by a constant fidelity of Mallebranche, the levity of Pelis to the religion of its ancestors, an son, the elegance of Gresset, the in- unshaken attachment for the sove. genuousness of Voltaire's prose, and reign, an enthusiasm for honour, a the harmony of the Odes of Rous- mind of gallantry, an easy or refined
politeness, and a hospitality towards It has been the custom of nations, strangers, always offered with kindtoo, to reproach the French for their ness, and without ostentation : these fondness for dress, and it has been are the traits which peculiarly disproduced as a proof of their levity; tinguished the French nation, and but if so, the same censure might be which certainly constituted a cha