Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

possible, and debauched as many married women as they can. Our youth at home are proud to learn of such accomplished masters, and impatient to figure in the fame, or as nearly as may be in the fame, style, at whatever expence of fortune, or health, or honour, or society.

Here let us pause for a moment- An' alarming prospect rises to view What' great and powerful nation has ever existed, that tended not, by the natural operation of commerce, wealth, and dominion, to a selfish, vain, and luxurious effeminacy, till at last it sunk into a total depravation of morals and principles, which, by a close and obvious connexion, ended sooner or later in weakness, disgrace, and ruin? But if wise men and prophets say true, this nation— yes, my friends and countrymen, Britain, our common mother, nurse, and protectress, Britain is not removed very far from such a state. May the gracious Power who has so often interposed

for her safety, disappoint their forebodings, and avert the omens that excite them!

Among these have been chiefly reckoned a set of youth, diffipated in idleness, plunged in debauchery, infected with avarice, maddened with gaming; a set of youth, wasting their substance, if any they have, in prodigality, or practising, if they have none, every method that meanneis or artifice can suggest, to get money, for the sake of what?- of spending it in every folly that appetite or vanity can prompt ; a set of youth, who, not content with throwing down the ramparts of virtue, which natural modesty had erected in their minds, have, for the purpofe of indulging their passions without controul, proceeded to the effrontery of “glorying « in their shame," and putting every mark of contumely on such as will not “ run “ with them to the same excess of riot;" a fet of youth, that sneer at the names of Chastity, Temperance, and Religion ; that place the highest proofs of Spirit in bid. ding defiance to these, and laughing to fcorn the antiquated notions of a found faith and an unblemifhed deportment; that think nothing so shrewd as to pick the pocket of a companion at cards, nothing so genteel as to keep a mistress, nothing so gallant as to commit adultery, and nothing so brave as to make a jest of damnation--what shall we say more? a set of youth languid, enervated, perhaps distempered, perhaps putrid, in consequence of their own irregularities, and those, it may be, of their parents.

- But Pleasure, we are told, Elegant Pleasure, is the object to which every thing else must yield. Alas! it is not underfood, it is totally mistaken, by those halfwitted, half-souled sons of Effeminacy. Where, ye wretched pretenders to refined delight, where are the interesting enere gies of a useful and honourable activity, the animated emanations of a sound and

[ocr errors]

enlightened understanding; where are the deep-felt thrillings of generous affection and tender sympathy, the sweet reciprocations of confidence and esteem, the lovely, the raptured perceptions of moral beauty and intellectual good, the modest but joyful sense of conscious worth, the towerings of a noble ambition, the transporting hopes of immortality ;-where, I ask, are those highest satisfactions which give the chief relish and dignity to life, and without which it is at best but a vulgar and infipid thing? To them indeed you, whom I just described, are utter strangers. You have neither spirit to cultivate, nor fentiment to comprehend them: your internal fight is dimmed by prejudice, or distracted by folly: you perceive not the living forms of Truth and Virtue, which have been admired by the wise, the pious, and the manly, in all ages : or, if at any time Providence recalls your attention to those superior objects, and rouses you for a while out of the lethargy that has lulled

your faculties, you dare not trust yourselves with your own convi&ions; you want the courage and the vigour, as well as honesty, that are requisite to follow the voice of Conscience; the tone of your minds is broken; you are frittered by vanity; you are dissolved in vice.

What the well-wishers of Britain, and of mankind, are to expect from such a race, ::1 leave them to judge. That the picture

is too like the generality of our fashionable young men in the upper classes, and of their fond imitators in the lower, it were not candour, but ignorance, to deny.

Are these then the persons who must, ere long, possess the various departments in the great scale of society? Are these the persons that must shortly sustain the characters of lovers, husbands, fathers, masters, friends ? Say, my Country, are these the young men whom thou hast deItined to protect thy daughters, to educate their pofterity, to execute thy plans, to

« PoprzedniaDalej »