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Phil. And punishment for the poor and petty rogue. The provision you speak of, however, is neither wisely nor fairly applied.
Gen. And of punishment you may say the same. In a well-regulated government, in a well-compacted state, there would be little temptation to fraud; for man, it should be remembered, is not, generally speaking, by nature a rogue and a plunderer: it is not from propensity, except in some few instances, but exigency, that he is found to be such. That punishment is necessary, I readily admit: the abandoned villain is the growth of every country. But I insist, that far the greater portion of those whom we brand with the opprobrious name are more deserving of pity than punishment; as they are hurried into evil courses by pressing and irresistible want. The sound politician, therefore, will not think so much on punishments as on rewards; but hold out benefits and advantages to all. He will shower his favours indiscriminately on the good and the bad, when the latter are not atrociously so; by which he will gratify the one, and probably "turn the hearts" of the other; in imitation of the all-beneficent God of nature, who allows the sun to shine and the rains to descend without the smallest partiality, without any regard to persons; trusting to these his creatures, as free agents, for adoration, and a grateful sense of the bounties so freely bestowed.
Phil. I acknowledge the truth of your positions, and subscribe to the justness of your remarks. But, when you speak of the Utopian scheme of allowing a community of goods, you should remember in what it originated, a neglect of the unfortunate and the necessitous; in not attempting some establishment for those who, from want of money, are wholly unable to make such establishment for themselves: in short, in leaving the good and virtuous man on the rough and tempestuous sea of the world, to swim or sink, according to chance. Gen. How! Have you then forgotten the establish
ment of poor-houses? For whom, and for what purpose, is the sum of three millions* per annum collected?
Phil. Principally for the idle and the dissolute, though set on foot with a totally different view. Half of the sum you mention as raised would be sufficient for the relief of the really sick and aged among the poor. I am firmly persuaded, indeed, that full as many abuses have crept into these establishments as you seem to be apprehensive would arise from practising the act of forbearance suggested by the generous Indian. Nay, I think it might, without difficulty, be proved, that the public are far greater losers in the present order of things, than they could be in any other possible event. It is the business
of a great and powerful nation, not to think so much of maintaining its poor as to hinder the increase of them, ⚫ or even of the country's producing any. Sick and aged there must always be. Let us look to the plans and regulations of Frederic the Second, of Prussia, in respect to this truly important matter. Let us attend likewise to the words of a king of Persia:-" The great Shah Abbas (says his historian), among the many useful establishments made by him in Persia, founded not a single poor-house. On being asked the reason of this,' It is my intention, and it shall be my care (said he), that there be no occasion for poor-houses, or charitable institutions, in Persia."" By this he clearly signified, that his charity went to the making of establishments for all, by encouraging industry.-It is an astonishing circumstance, that, at the present day, scarcely a statesman is to be found who considers that the stability of a kingdom, the permanency of a government, must depend entirely on the prosperity of the people. The people, then, when found to be numerous and poor, should, as you have already hinted, be assisted; not by a slight and temporary relief (which frequently induces nothing but idleness), but by putting them in a way to make a lasting provision for themselves.
* At the close of the last century.
MERCURY and a COQUETTE.
Coq. AND so, Mr. Mercury, you too are become my admirer? I really know not what to say to you; I, who have so long withstood the solicitations of that horrid creature, man.—Well
Merc. True, fair lady; but you will find it impossible to withstand me.
Coq. So confident! but, positively, you shall not triumph over me; I will not consent these fifty years. Merc. Your consent is of little moment, Madam; I shall certainly carry you off.
Coq. He's a charming impudent fellow! (Aside.) What, to Scotland, or -?
Merc. Scotland! no; a far more delightful place ;-to Elysium, gentle lady!
Coq. Elysium! my lovers have often declared, indeed, that to be with me was to be in Elysium; but I never rightly understood them.
Merc. And had you never the curiosity to inquire into their meaning?
Coq. Inquire! O, no; that were a terrible waste of time; I knew it was a sort of compliment, and that was enough for me.
Merc. They meant to tell you, Madam, that, in your society, they enjoyed a kind of heaven upon earth: they will be greatly distressed at losing you.
Coq. Losing me! why you do not imagine, that, because I am to be married to you, I must necessarily forego their company?
Merc. Married to me! no, no, pretty lady; you will shortly be wedded to Quietus.
Coq. Quietus! prithee, who is he? I do not remember to have heard of the gentleman; I am sure he is not upon my list.
Merc. But you are most assuredly upon his.
Coq. Prithee, who is he? what is his family? where does he come from? Only think to be called Mrs. Quietus, the thought is horrid! Mrs. Quietus! I positively will have nothing to say to him.
Merc. But my master, Madam, is
Coq. Master! mercy on me! What, are you nothing better than a serving man? Here, Thomas, Harry, turn this fellow out of doors.
Merc. Softly, gentle lady; I am an ambassador: know you not that ambassadors, when speaking of their king, will call him master?
Coq. Cry you mercy, good Sir; your master is then a king?
Merc. He is, and a very powerful one.
Coq. And he-he-(I shall positively expire with joy. Aside.) Spare my confusion, Sir; you understand me, no doubt ?
Merc. Perfectly; you mean that you are ready to depart.
Coq. What a fortunate creature am I! A queen! What will all my companions say? They will never be able to bear it; they will, undoubtedly, burst with envy and rage. But I must play off a few of my airs. (Aside.) Ready to depart! O dear, no! I am not so easily won; perhaps I am not willing to depart at all.
Merc. A little force will then be requisite: ladies do not always know their own minds.
Coq. What a delightful fellow he is! But your master is a very powerful prince, you say; pray, where does he reign?
Merc. In hell!
Coq. In! (Shrieks.)
Merc. What's the matter, my little charmer? Why are you in so great a fright? Your reverend doctor, in his sermons, has surely brought you acquainted with the place?
Coq. You are greatly mistaken, Sir; he is more of a gentleman.
Merc. A captivating fellow, I dare engage.
Coq. The prettiest preacher in the world; for
When he speaks, what elocution flows!
O, he is a dear, sweet creature, I assure you.
Coq. It is really an abominable thing that one can never speak in praise of any one to any one, but one is immediately supposed to be in love. Love! I detest the very name.
Mer. But, as your preacher is so very refined, you, I presume, are the same
Devoutly thus Jehovah they depose,—
The pure! the just! and set up in his stead
A deity that's perfectly well-bred.
Such is the character and conduct of the woman of fashion, as described by the poets; you maintain that character, without a doubt?
Coq. Assuredly, Sir: I maintain the character of a woman of spirit and taste! and as for beauty
Mer. Hold! hold! you grow extravagant; these selfcommendations are not allowable: besides, you should remember what a celebrated poet of former days has observed on these matters:-"It is not powdering, perfuming, and every day smelling of the tailor, that converteth to a beautiful object; but a mind shining through any suit, which needs no false light, either of riches or honours, to help it."*