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349. An agreeable Thought.-A Bee amongst the flowers in spring, is one of the cheerfullest objects that can be looked upon. Its life appears to be all enjoyment: so busy and so pleased.-Paley.
350. Titles.--The best plea ever made for title, was Burke's, who agreed, that its very want of any ground to go upon gave it something of a liberal and romantic character in the eyes of mankind, and led them to conceive the existence of other refinements apart from the common objects of their admiration. Such, at least, is the recollection we have of his argument. It is very ingenious, and has a philosophical air of reconcilement with things as they have been. But things fluctuate; and when such refinements are in the way of the progress of mankind, the first touch in the cause of advancement reduces them to nothing. If they are defensible for other times, it does not follow that they are so for ours. Any absurdity may have been equally useful, or made to appear so.
The question is, do we think it so now, and can it consist with doubt and denial? On the contrary, the moment the doubt comes, is it not clear that the time is come when the necessity for the refinement exists no longer? Can the cessation of all the advantages which existed but in acquiescence, and the continuance of the disadvantages which have never ceased to be manifest, allow a system to flourish when it meets with sneers at every corner, when its members have no longer any superiority over the rest of the community, when they are afraid to pretend it, and are obliged to retreat, like refuted children, into airs and sullenness.-Leigh Hunt.
351. Constitutional Power.--The power of kings and magistrates was, and is, originally the peoples', and by them conferred, in trust only, to be employed to the common peace and benefit, with liberty, therefore, and right remaining in them, to resume it to themselves, if by kings or magistrates it be abused; or to dispose of it by any alteration as they shall judge most conducing to the public good. Milton.
352. Astrology, &c.-A fond belief in the powers of certain delusive arts, particularly astrology, natural magic, and alchemy, has greatly retarded the progress of knowledge, by engrossing the attention of many of the finest geniuses which the world has ever produced, and by introducing, into medicine especially, a multitude of false facts, founded on the grossest superstition and delusion. These arts, which promised to be of infinite use in life, laid such fast hold of the imagination, that no power of reason was able to free men from their enchantment. At the same time, they have accidentally given rise to important discoveries, and would furnish some excellent materials for a natural history of the human imagination.-Gregory.
353. Opposition of Ignorance to the use of Printing.-In the Typographical Antiquities' of Ames and Herbert, it is stated, that the first book printed on paper manufactured in England, came out in 1495 or 1496, from the press of Winkin de Worde. Shakspeare—whose chronology is not to be trusted-makes Jack Cade, in the reign of Henry VI., (who was deposed in 1461,) thus accuse Lord Sands: -“Whereas before, our forefathers had no other books but the score and the tally,thou hast caused printing to he used, and, contrary to the king, his crown, and dignity, thou hast built a paper mill.” The insurrection of Jack Cade was ostensibly for the redress of grievances amongst the people. Shakspeare fixes the complaint of Cade against printing and paper-making some ten or twenty years earlier than the introduction of printing amongst us;—but he could not have better pointed out the ignorance of popular violence.--and all violence is the result of igno
The best instruments for producing good government, and equal laws for all men, have been the paper-mill and the printing-press;-and exactly in proportion as the knowledge which they embody has been diffused, have we advanced, not only in our social arrangements, but in every other manifestation of a prosperous and well-ordered community. Whatever remains to be accomplished will go hand-in-hand with the continued diffusion of knowledge.-P. M.
354. Infant Asylums.- It is deserving of attention, that, independently of schools for the elementary instruction of children above the age of six, in the Duchy of Saxe Weimar, every village contains a district asylum for the reception of children below that age, who have hitherto been left without any superintendence at home, whilst their parents were absent at their work. This abandonment has been, and notoriously is, the prolific source of idle and vagabond habits, which it is extremely difficult to eradicate in after years. The asylums in question have, therefore been opened for the purpose of remedying this crying evil; the parents send their children to them in the morning, and fetch them home in the evening. In the interim they are fed and taken care of, besides being taught to read and say their prayers. There is not a single village in the whole Grand-duchy, which is not provided with one of these excellent ‘Asylum Schools,' as they are termed; and they are rapidly spreading all over Germany. -Quarterly Journal of Education.
355. Reflections on Man.- When I reflect upon man; and take, a view of that dark side of him which represents his life as open to so many causes of trouble, when I consider how oft we eat the bread of affliction, and that we are born to it, as to the portion of our inheritancewhen one runs over the catalogue of all the cross reckonings and sorrowful items with which the heart of man is overcharged, 'tis wonderful by what hidden resources the mind is enabled to stand it out, and bear itself up as it does, against the impositions laid upon our nature --Sterne. 356. Insignificance is often a very strong protection; tho' the most insignificant hesitate to acknowledge their obligations to it.
357. Devotion of a Great Mind to its Duties.—Milton, who, during an active life in the most troublesome times, was unceasing in the cultivation of his understanding, thus describes his own habits;—"Those morning haunts are where they should be, at home; not sleeping or concocting the surfeits of an irregular feast, but up and stirring; in winter, often ere the sound of any bell awake men to labour or devotion; in summer as oft with the bird that first rouses, or not much tardier, to read good authors, or cause them to be read till the attention be weary, or memory have its full fraught; then with useful and generous labours preserving the body's health and hardiness, to render lightsome, clear, and not lumpish obedience to the mind, to the cause of religion and our country's liberty."
358. The Drum.
I hate that drum's discordant sound,
I hate that drum's discordant sound,
Scott of Amwell.
359. Man is placed in this world as a spectator; when he is tired of wondering at all the novelties about him, and not till then, does he desire to be made acquainted with the causes that create those wonders.
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360. Longing after Immortality.-The resire of being remembered when we are no more is deeply implanted in the human mind. We all cast“a longing lingering look behind” and desire to know what will be said of us when we are no more. “I shall not altogether die!” was the triumphant exclamation of a poet of antiquity, when speaking of the productions of his brain: “I shall leave a memorial of myself” is the idea of the swain who rudely carves the initials of his name on the glossy surface of a beech tree in the forest.
The idler who cuts letters with his knife on the benches in our public walks, the poet who writes verses with his pencil on the boards of the summer house are equally anxious that at least some part of them may escape
ravages of the gloomy Libitina. We do not attempt to condemn this propensity merely because it discovers itself in trifles. No: had circumstances favored the ambition of these candidates for immortality, they might have plundered cities, ravaged kingdoms, established empires, and become "mighty hunters' on the earth. This is the same principle which induced men in early ages to say to each other: “Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach to heaven; and let us make us a name”—The Savage
361. Liberty and Necessity.--If libertarians acknowledge that any action will follow their willing it, they must know that the action, and their willing it, are necessarily associated together. But they cannot presume from this, that the necessity begins with their will.—That which necessarily causes any thing, has itself been necessarily caused; for if it had not, that, which it necessarily produced, and which, therefore, necessarily existed, might not have been, which is contradictory and impossible.--In this manner, then, these reasoners establish the "doctrine of necessity," as fully as any necessarian can do it for them.
382. Fox Hunters. Every county of Great Britain has one hundred or more of fox hunters, who roar instead of speaking; therefore if it be true, that we women are also given to a greater fluency of words than is necessary, sure she that disturbs but a room or a family, is more to be tolerated than one who draws together whole parishes and counties, and sometimes (with an estate that might make him the blessing and ornament of the world around him) has no other view and ambition, but to be an animal above dogs and horses, without the relish of any one enjoyment which is peculiar to the faculties of human nature. I know it will here be said, that, talking of mere country squires at this rate, is, as it were, to write against Valentine and Orson. To prove any thing against the race of men, you must take them as they are adorned with education; as they live in courts, or have received instruction in colleges.
363. Striking Reflection. If we happen, under certain circumstances, to have written, and sealed, and dispatched a letter to a friend, which however does not find him, but is brought back to us, and we open it at the distance of some considerable time, a singular emotion is produced in us on breaking up our own seal, and conversing with our altered self as with a third person. Goethe.
364. The Poor.-Honour be to all honest conditions of human life, and to that of honest poverty among the rest. Let the poor only turn their misfortunes to the improvement of themselves; let them presume not to think that suffering authorises them to commit crimes, or to foster hatred; and they cannot be wholly unhappy. Never, however, under any circumstances, ought we to be severe in our judgment of them. Have deep compassion upon the really poor, although they are often goaded by impatience even to rage. Consider how hard a thing it is to suffer extreme want on the highway or in the hovel, while within a few steps the wretched man beholds his fellow-creatures, splendidly arrayed and daintily fed, pass by him. Forgive him if he have the weakness to regard you with malice, and relieve his wants because be is a man.-Coleridge.
364. Conversation. When five or six men are together, it is curious to observe the anxiety every one has to speak. No one wishes to hear; all he desires is an auditor. Rather than defer telling their respective stories, they frequently all speak at the same time.
Every one has a subject of his own that he wishes to introduce; therefore he is miserable until he has an opportunity to drag it in. One is desirous to discuss some religious subject: another would engage in a political disquisition. One would talk of the price of stocks; and another would expatiate on the merits of a favourite horse. The glass circulates, and the confusion becomes general. The tower of Babel would be an excellent sign for a modern tavern.