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1062. Military Discipline.—When the youug rustic is brought to the regiment, he is at first treated with a degree of gentleness; he is instructed by words only how to walk, and to hold up his head, and to carry his firelock, and he is not punished, though he should not succeed in his earliest attempts ; they allow his natural awkwardness and timidity to wear off by degrees: they seem cautious of confounding bim at the beginning, or driving him to despair, and take care not to pour all the terrors of their discipline upon his astonished senses at once. When he has been a little familiarised to his new state, he is taught the exercise of the firelock, first alone, and alterwards with two or three of his companions. This is not entrusted to a corporal or serjeant; it is the duty of a subaltern officer, And now, if the
young recruit shows neglect or remissness, his attention is roused by the officer's cane, which is applied with augmenting energy, till he has acquired the full command of his firelock. He is taught steadiness under arms and the immobility of a statue:---he is informed that all his members are to move only at the word of command, and not at his own pleasure ;—that speaking, coughing, sneezing, are all unpardonable crimes; and when the poor lad is accomplished to their mind, they give him to understand, that now it is perfectly known what he can do, and therefore the smallest deficiency will be punished with rigour. And although he should destine every moment of his time, and all his attention, to cleaning his arms, taking care of his clothes, and practising the manual excrcise, it is but barely possible for him to escape punishment; and if his captain happens to be of a capricious or cruel disposition, the ill-fated soldier loses the poor chance of that possibility.—Moore's View of Society, foc.
1063. Innocence and Guilt.—Innocence even in its crudest simplicity has some advantages over the most dexterous and practised guilt. Equivocal appearances may to be sure accidentally attend it in its progress through the world, but the very scrutiny which these appearances will excite operates in favour of innocence, which is secure the moment it is discovered. But guilt is a poor, helpless, dependant, being. . Without the alliance of able, diligent, and let me add fortunate fraud, it is inevitably undone. If the guilty culprit be obstinately silent, his silence forms a deadly presumption against him, if he speaks, talking tends only to his discovery, and his very defence often furnishes the materials for his conviction.-Junius's Miscellaneous Letters.
1064. Unkindness.-More hearts pine away in secret anguish, for unkindness from those who should be their comforters, than for any other calamity in life.—Young.
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1065. The French Revolution.—Think of the French Revolution ; think, as long as you please, of the rapine, cruelty and murder which it occasioned: but at the same time do not fail to observe the godlike virtues, heroism, honor, friendship, contempt of death, and of danger, which it awakened; a thousand years of calm corrupting 'peace would not bave called into lite so much active and energetic virtue. It is only in great convulsions and revolutions, that the mind of man having freed itself from the grasp of avarice, and shaken off the yoke of contracted, sordid, and grovelling passion, discovers something transcendently great and imposing : we are ready to cry out as did a people of old, “ the Gods have come down in the likeness of men.”—But it may be said, those virtues made the nation a poor compensation for the crimes and atrocities of the sanguinary conflict: these faint twinkling stars oniy rendered visible the gloom and horrors of the revolutionary vight. Did France derive any positive good from this ferocious struggle? What good does a patient, borne down to the grave by a painful and loathsome disease, receive from the efficacy of a powerful medicinc, or from the bold but skilful operations of the surgeon?' France was sick, the superior extremities of her body were weak, bloated, corrupt, and incapable of being applied to any valuable purpose. Her hands were no longer able to supply her voracious jaws, and her insatiable stomach with the necessary sustenance, and her feet moved heavily beneath a burden they no longer had the ability to support. The poison of civilization had pervaded every part of her system, the whole mass of her blood was corrupted and moved sluggishly through her veins: there was no soundness in her flesh, there was no rest in her bones, her whole head was sick and her whole heart was faint. But nature understood the disease of her child, and administered the only efficacious remedy: it threw the agonized patient into convulsions; unskilful observers were ready to declare, that the hour of her final dissolution was at hand. These struggles however were only the prelude to renewed youth and renovated strength. She arose and shook herself, she went forth like a giant refreshed with wine, and astonished the nations with the grandeur of her achievements. She will now go on rejoicing in her strength, till she becomes again civilized and corrupted; till the superior parts of her body become too heavy to be borne by the inferior; then, she must again have recourse to the revolutionary medicine or perish.-The Savage.
1066. Rich and Poor.—Poverty leads to the commission of crimes, riches precludes the exercise of virtue. The difficulty in the poor man is to be honest, in the rich to be just. Poverty is dangerous to the man, riches are dangerous to the christian. But the rich, in a moral light, stand in the greatest danger; for the vices of the rich are exaggerated by neglecting to relieve the virtues of the poor, while the vicious poor are very likely to be reclaimed by the well-extended benefactions and charitable admonitions of the virtuous rich.— The By-Stander.
1067. Public Enjoyments.- In a state like our own, in which all the power of legislation is put forth for the protection of individual property, with a consciousness that its security is the chief foundation of public and private happiness, the ruling power is apt to forget, that the public colJectively are entitled to some enjoyments. Of which of our Kings can it be said in addressing the people, as Anthony said of Cæsar“ He hath left
all his walks,
He hath left them you,
To walk abroad and recreate yourselves.” The people it may be contended have not yet learnt, in the scanty recreations which the state has yet afforded them, to respect the property upon whose preservation their enjoyment depends. And why? They have been educated under a system of exclusion; and they feel therefore, as if they were aliens, when they are grudgingly admitted to a gallery or a
Even the monuments of the illustrious dead, for which the nation has paid, cannot produce their effect upon the national mind, unless the individual
pay also for their inspection. The tombs of our poets and of our statesmen are committed to the custody of a rapacious official, and then we complain that the common people have a low standard of taste, and cannot be elevated into the love of intellectual enjoyments.
Library of Entertaining Knowledge. The Elephant.
1068. Knowledge of Books. Knowledge of Books in recluse men, is like that sort of lantern, which hides him who carries it, and serves only to pass through secret and gloomy paths of his own; but in the possession of a man of business, it is as a torch in the hand of one who is willing and able to show those who are bewildered, the way which leads to prosperity and welfare.—Spectator.
1069. On Education. Every wrong propensity may be finally subdued or considerably corrected: every right one may be assisted by additional motives and carried on to yet higher perfection. Even in the worst characters some capacity for virtuous improvement, of which no vestige has yet been observeil may be discovered or drawn forth ; and upon the best, restraints
may he employed against vicious inclinations, which from the mere ahsence of opportunity, have not hitherto been suspected.
Parr's Discourse on Education.
1070. Honesty.--He who freely praises what he means to purchase, and he who enumerates the faults of what he means to sell, may set up a partnership with honesty.-Lavater.
1071. Liberty of the Press.—What then remains ? the liberty of the press only, that sacred palladium, which no influence, no power, no minister, no government, which nothing but the depravity, or folly, or corruption of a jury can ever destroy. And what calamities are the people saved from by having public communication left open to them. I will tell you, gentlemen, what they are saved from, and what the government is saved from. I will tell
you also to what both are exposed by shutting up that communication. In one case sedition speaks aloud and walks abroad; the demagogue goes forth ; the public eye is upon him; he frets his busy hour upon the stage ; but soon either weariness, or bribe, or punishment, or disappointment bears him down, or drives him off, and he appears no more. In the other case how does the work of sedition go forward. Night after night the muffled rebel steals forth in the dark and casts another and another brand
upon the pile, to which when the fatal hour of maturity shall arrive he will apply the flame. If you doubt of the horrid consequences of suppressing the effusion of even individual discontent, look to those enslaved countries where the protection of despotism is supposed to be secured by such restraints. Even the person of the despot there is never in safety. Neither the fears of the despot nor the machinations of the slave have any slumber; the one anticipating the moment of peril, the other watching the opportunity of aggression. The fatal crisis is equally a surprise upon both; the decisive instant is precipitated without warning by folly on the one side or by frenzy on the other, and there is no notice of the treason till the traitor acts. In those unfortunate countries--one cannot read it without horror-there are officers whose province it is to have the water which is to be drunk by their rulers, sealed up in bottles lest some wretched miscreant should throw poison into the draught.
But, gentlemen, if you wish for a nearer and more interesting example, you have it in the history of your own revolution: you have it at that memorable period, when the monarch found a servile acquiescence in the ministers of his folly; when the liberty of the press was trodden under foot; when venal sheriffs returned packed juries to carry into effect those fatal conspiracies of the few against the many; when the devoted benches of public justice were filled by some of those foundlings of fortune, who, overwhelmed in the torrent of corruption at an early period, lay at the bottom like drowned bodies, while soundness or sanity remained in them, but at length becoming buoyant by putrefaction, they rose as they rotted and floated to the surface of the polluted stream where they were drifted along the objects of terror and contagion and abomination.
In that awful moment of a nations travail—of the last gasp of tyranny, and the first breath of freedom, how pregnant is the example. The
press extinguished—the people enslaved—and the prince undone. As the advocate of society, therefore, of peace, of domestic liberty and the lasting union of the two countries, I conjure you to regard the liberty of the press that great centinel of the state, that grand detector of public imposture; guard it, because when it sinks, there sinks with it in one common grave, the lib. erty of the subject and the security of the crown.
Curran's Speech in Defence of Hamilton Rowan.
1072. Bonds of Nations.—In the intercourse between nations we are apt to rely too much on the instrumental part. We lay too much weight on the formalities of treaties and compacts. We do not act much more wisely when we trust to the interests of men as guarantees of their engagements. The interests frequently tear to pieces the engagements, and the passions trample upon both. Entirely to trust to either is to disregard our own safety, or not to know mankind. Men are not tied to one another by papers and seals. They are led tv associate by resemblances, by conformities, by sympathies. It is with nations as with individuals. Nothing is so strong a tie of amity between nation and nation as correspondence in laws, customs, manners, and habits of life. They have more than the force of treaties in themselves. They are obligations written in the heart. They approximate men to men, without their knowledge and sometimes against their intentions. The secret, unseen, but irrefragable bond of habitual intercourse, holds them together, even when their perverse and litigious nature sets them to equivocate, scufflc, and fight about the terms of their written obligations.
1073. The general good of Mankind, the Rule or Measure of moral Truth..—The discovery of truth may occasionally resemble in its effects the invention of mechanical improveinents, which, on their first introduction, sometimes beget injury to individuals, and even transitory inconvenience to society. But partial and transitory evil can be no solid objection to the introduction of general and permanent good. There is not the semblance of a reason, why the welfare of the community at large should be sacrificed to the advantage of a few; or why a small and transient injury should not be endured for the sake of a great and lasting benefit. If errors are ever useful they are less useful than truth, and are therefore absolute evils. “Utility and truth are not to be divided,” says Bishop Berkeley, " the general good of mankind being the rule or measure of moral truth.”
Essays on the Formation and Publication of Opinions.