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Romans, that their empire had not more increased by the strength of their arms, than by the sanctity of their manners : and Cicero, who seems to have been better versed than any of them, both in the theory and the practice of politics, makes it a doubt, whether it were possible for a community to exist, that had not a prevailing mixture of piety in its constitution. Justice, temperance, humility, and almost every other moral virtue, do not only derive the blessings of Providence
those who exercise them, but are the natural means for acquiring the public prosperity. Besides ; religious motives and instincts are so busy in the heart of every reasonable creature, that a man who would hope to govern a society without any regard to these principles, is as much to be contemned for his folly, as to be detested for his impiety.
To this we may add, that the world is never sunk into such a state of degeneracy, but they pay a natural veneration to men of virtue; and rejoice to see themselves conducted by those, who act under the awe of a Supreme Being, and who think themselves accountable for all their proceedings to the great Judge and Superintendent of human affairs.
Those of our fellow-subjects, who are sensible of the happiness they enjoy in his Majesty's accession to the throne, are obliged, by all the duties of gratitude, to adore that Providence which has so signally interposed in our behalf, by clearing a way to the Protestant succession through such difficulties as seemed insuperable; by detecting the conspiracies which have been formed against it; and, by many wonderful events, weakening the hands and baffling the attempts of all his Majesty's enemies, both foreign and domestic.
The party who distinguish themselves by their zeal for the present establishment, should be careful, in a particular manner, to discover in their whole conduct such a reverence for religion, as may show how groundless that reproach is which is cast upon them by their enemies, of being averse to our national worship. While others engross to themselves the name of the Church, and, in a manner, excommunicate the best part of their fellow-subjects ; let us show ourselves the genuine sons of it, by practising the doctrines which it teaches. The advantage will be visibly on our side, if we stick to its essentials; while they triumph in that empty denomination which they bestow upon themselves. Too many of them are already dipt in the guilt of perjury and sedition; and as we remain unblemished in these particulars, let us endeavour to excel them in all the other parts of religion, and we shall quickly find, that a regular morality is, in its own nature, more popular, as well as more meritorious, than an intemperate zeal.
'Means for acquiring the public prosperity.] Acquire, is another of those verbs that imply personal agency. See the note on discover, in the last paper. It should be, are the natural means by which men acquire those blessings—or, by which states acquire prosperity. Our grammars are very defective in their account of verbs active, which differ widely from each other, though they take the same common name. In some, we regard little more than the transitive effect; in others, some energy of the efficient is chiefly respected. Procure, and acquire, may, to some, appear synonymous : yet, trade may procure that wealth, which the tradesman only acquires.
We have likewise, in the present times of confusion and disorder, an opportunity of showing our abhorrence of several principles which have been ascribed to us by the malice of our enemies. A disaffection to kings and kingly government, with a proneness to rebellion, have been often very unjustly charged on that party which goes by the name of Whigs. Our steady and continued adherence to his Majesty, and the present happy settlement, will the most effectually confute this calumny. Our adversaries, who know very well how odious commonwealth principles are to the English nation, have inverted the very sense of words and things, rather than not continue to brand us with this imaginary guilt: for with some of these men, at present, loyalty to our king is republicanism, and rebellion passive obedience.
It has been an old objection to the principles of the Whigs, that several of their leaders, who have been zealous for redressing the grievances of government, have not behaved themselves better than the Tories in domestic scenes of life; but at the same time have been public patriots and private oppressors. This objection, were it true, has no weight in it, since the misbehaviour of particular persons does not at all affect their cause, and since a man may act laudably in some respects, who does not so in others. However, it were to be wished, that men would not give an occasion even to such invectives ; but at the same time they consult the happiness of the whole, that they would promote it to their utmost in all their private dealings among those who lie more immediately within their influence. In the mean while I must observe, that this reproach, which may be often met with in print and conversation, tends in reality to the honour of the Whigs, as it supposes that a greater regard to justice and humanity is to be expected from them, than from those of the opposite party: and it is certain we cannot better recommend our principles, than by such actions as are their natural and genuine fruits.
Were we thus careful to guard ourselves in a particular manner against these groundless imputations of our enemies, and to rise above them as much in our morality as in our politics, our cause would be always as flourishing as it is just. It is certain, that our notions have a more natural tendency to such a practice, as we espouse the Protestant interest in opposition to that of Popery, which is so far from advancing morality by its doctrines, that it has weakened, or entirely subverted, many of the duties even of natural religion.
I shall conclude, with recommending one virtue more to the friends of the present establishment, wherein the Whigs have been remarkably deficient; which is, a general unanimity and concurrence in the pursuit of such measures as are necessary for the well-being of their country. As it is a laudable freedom of thought which unshackles their minds from the poor and narrow prejudices of education, and opens their
eyes to a more extensive view of the public good; the same freedom of thought disposes several of them to the embracing of particular schemes and maxims, and to a certain singularity of opinion which proves highly prejudicial to their cause; especially when they are encouraged in them by a vain breath of popularity, or by the artificial praises which are bestowed on them by the opposite party. This temper of mind, through the effect of a noble principle, very often betrays their friends, and brings into power the most pernicious and implacable of their enemies. In cases of this nature, it is the duty of an honest and prudent man, to sacrifice a doubtful opinion to the concurring judgment of those whom he believes to be well-intentioned to their country, and who have better opportunities of looking into all its most complicated interests. An honest party of men, acting with unanimity, are of infinitely greater consequence than the same party aiming at the same end by different views : : as a large diamond is of a thousand times greater value whilst it remains entire, than when it is cut into a multitude of smaller stones, notwithstanding they may each of them be very curiously set, and are all of the same water.
No. 30. MONDAY, APRIL 2.
-1, verbis virtutem illude superbis. Virg. As I was some years ago engaged in conversation with a fashionable French abbé upon a subject which the people of that kingdom love to start in discourse, the comparative greatness of the two nations; he asked me, How
many souls I thought there might be in London ?" I replied, being willing to do my country all the honour I fairly could, “That there were several who computed them at near a million;" but not finding that surprise I expected in his countenance, I returned the question upon him, how many he thought there might be in Paris? to which he answered, with a certain grimace of coldness and indifference, “ about ten or twelve millions.
It would, indeed, be incredible to a man who has never been in France, should one relate the extravagant notion they entertain of themselves, and the mean opinion they have of their neighbours. There are certainly (notwithstanding the visible decay of learning and taste which has appeared among them of late years) many particular persons in that country, who are eminent in the highest degree for their good sense, as well as for their knowledge in all the arts and sciences. But I believe every one, who is acquainted with them, will allow, that the people in general fall short of those who border upon them, in strength and solidity of understanding. One would therefore no more wonder to see the most shallow nation of Europe the most vain, than to find the most empty fellows in every distinct nation more conceited and censorious than the rest of their countrymen. Prejudice and self-sufficiency naturally proceed from inexperience of the world, and ignorance of mankind. As it requires but very small abilities to discover the imperfections of another, we find that none are more apt to turn their neighbours into ridicule, than those who are the most ridiculous in their own private conduct. Those
among the French, who have seen nothing but their own country, can scarce bring themselves to believe, that a nation, which lies never so little north of them, is not full of Goths and Vandals. Nay, those among them who travel into foreign parts, are so prejudiced in favour of their own imaginary politeness, that they are apt to look upon everything as barbarous in proportion as it deviates from what
they find at home. No less a man than an ambassador of France, being in conversation with our king, of glorious memory, and willing to encourage bis Majesty, told him, that he talked like a Frenchman. The king smiled at the encomium which was given him, and only replied, “Sir, I am sure you
do." An eminent writer of the last age was so offended at this kind of insolence, which showed itself very plentifully in one of their travellers who gave an account of England, that he vindicated the honour of his country in a book full of just satire and ingenuity. I need not acquaint my reader, that I mean Bishop Sprat’s answer to Sorbiere.
Since I am upon this head, I cannot forbear mentioning some profound remarks that I have been lately shown in a French book, the author of which lived, it seems, some time in England. “ The English,” says this curious traveller,
very much delight in pudding. This is the favourite dish, not only of the clergy, but of the people in general. Provided there be a pudding upon the table, no matter what are the other dishes ; they are sure to make a feast.
They think themselves so happy when they have a pudding before them, that if any one would tell a friend he is arrived in a lucky juncture, the ordinary salutation is, “Sir, I am glad to see you; you are come in pudding-time.”
One cannot have the heart to be angry at this judicious observer, notwithstanding he has treated us like a race of Hottentots, because he only taxes us with our inordinate love of pudding, which, it must be confessed, is not so elegant a dish as frog and salad. Every one who has been at Paris, knows that Un gros milord Anglois is a frequent jest upon the French stage; as if corpulence was a proper subject for satire, or a man of honour could help his being fat, who eats suitable to his quality.
It would be endless to recount the invectives which are to be met with among the French historians, and even in Mezeray himself, against the manners of our countrymen. Their authors, in other kinds of writing, are likewise very liberal in characters of the same nature. I cannot forbear mentioning the learned Monsieur Patin in particular ; who tells us in so many words, “That the English are a people whom he naturally abhors :” and in another place, " that he looks upon the English among the several nations of men, as he does
1 He should have said suitably; and he would have said it, but for the jingle that hurt his ear, in quality.