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by the products of Barbadoes; the infusion of a China plant sweetened with the pith of an Indian cane. The Philippine islands give a flavor to our European bowls. The single dress of a woman of quality is often the product of an hundred climates. The muffand the fan come together from the different ends of the earth. The scarf is sent from the torrid zóne,and the tippet from beneath the pole. The brocade petticoat rises out of the mines of Peru, and the diamond necklace out of the bowels of Indostan.
If we consider our own country in its natural prospect, without any of the benefits and advantages of commerce, what a barren uncomfortable spot of the earth falls to our share! Natural historians tell us, that no fruit grows originally among us, besides hips and haws, acorns and pignuts, with other delicacies of the like nature; that our climate, of itself, and without the assistance of art, can make no further advances towards a plumb, than a sloe, and carries an apple to no greater perfection than a crab; that our melons, our peaches, our figs, our apricoats and our cherries,are strangers among us,imported in different ages, and naturalized in our English gardens; and that they would all degenerate and fall away into the trash of our own country, if they were wholly neglected by the planter, and left to the mercy of our sun and soil. Nor has traffic more enriched our vegetable world, than it has improved the whole face of nature among us. Our ships are laden with the harvest of every climate;our tables are stored with spices, and oils, and wines; our rooms are filled with pyramids of China, and adorned with the workmanship of Japan; our morning's draught comes to us from the remotest corners of the earth; we repair our bodies by the drugs of America, and repose ourselves under Indian canopies. My friend,Sir Andrew, calls the vineyards of France,our gardens; the spice Islands, our hot beds; the Persians, our silk weavers; and the Chinese, our potters. Nature, indeed, furnishes us with the bare necessaries of life; but traffic gives us a great variety of what is useful,and,at the same time,supplies us with every thing that is convenient and ornamental. Nor is it the least part of this our happiness, that
whilst we enjoy the remotest products of the north and south, we are free from those extremeties of weather which give them birth; that our eyes are refreshed with the green fields of Britain, at the same time that our palates are feasted with fruits that rise between the tropics.
For these reasons, there are not more useful members in a commonwealth than merchants. They knit man. kind together in mutual intercourse of good offices, distribute the gifts of nature,find work for the poor, add wealth to the rich, and magnificence to the great. Our English merchant converts the tin of his own country into gold, and exchanges his wool for rubies. The Mahometans are clothed in our British manufacture,and the inhabitants of the frozen zone warmed with the fleeces of our sheep.
X-On Public Speaking.-IB.
MOST foreign writers who have given any character of the English nation, whatever vice they ascribe to it, allow, in general, that the people are naturally modest. It proceeds, perhaps, from this our national virtue, that our orators are observed to make use of less gesture or action than those of other countries. Our preachers stand stock still in the pulpit, and will not so much as move a finger to set off the best sermons in the world. We meet with the same speaking statues at our bars, and in all public places of debate. Our words flow from us in a smooth continued stream, without those strainings of the voice, motions of the body, and majesty of the hand which are so much celebrated in the orators of Greece and Rome. We can talk of life and death in cold blood, and keep our temper in a discourse which turns upon every thing that is dear to us. Though our zeal breaks out in the finest tropes and figures, it is not able to stir a limb about us.
It is certain that proper gestures and exertions of the voice cannot be to much studied by a public orator.They are a kind of comment to what he utters ; and enforce every thing he says, with weak hearers, better than the strongest argument he can make use of. They keep the audience awake, and fix their attention to what is delivered to them; at the same time that they show
the speaker is in earnest,and affected himself with what he so passionately recommends to others.
We are told that the great Latin orator very much impaired his health, by the vehemence of action with which he used to deliver himself. The Greek orator was likewise so very famous for this particular in rhetoric, that one of his antagonists, whom he had banished from Athens, reading over the oration which had procured his banishment, and seeing his friends admire it, could not forbear asking them-if they were so much affected by the bare reading it, how much more they would have been alarmed, had they heard him actually throwing out such a storm of eloquence.
How cold and dead a figure,in comparison of these two great men does an orator often make at the British bar, holding up his head with the most insipid serenity, and stroking the sides of a long wig that reaches down to his middle! Nothing can be more ridiculous than the gestures of most of our English speakers. You see some of them running their hands into their pockets as far as ever they can thrust them,and others looking with great attention on a piece of paper that has nothing written on it; you may see many a smart rhetorician turning his hat in his hands, moulding it into several different cocks, examining sometimes the lining of it, and sometimes the button, during the whole course of his harangue. A deaf man would think that he was cheapening a beaver ; when perhaps he was talking of the fate of the British nation. I remember when was a young man and used to frequent Westminster hall,there was a counsellor who never pleaded without a piece of pack-thread in his hand, which he used to twist about a thumb or finger all the while he was speaking; the wags of those days used to call it the thread of his discourse, for he was not able to utter a word without it. One of his clients who was more merry than wise, stole it from him one day, in the midst of his pleading; but he had better have let it alone, for he lost his cause by the jest.
XI.-Advantages of History.-HUME.
THE advantages found in history seem to be of three kinds; as it amuses the fancy, as it improves the understanding, and as it strengthens virtue,
give us talents that are not to be exerted? Capacities that are never to be gratified! How can we find that wisdom which shines through all his works, in the formation of man, without looking on this world as only a nursery for the next; and believing that the several generations of rational creatures, which rise up and disappear in such quick succession, are only to receive their first rudiments of all existence here, and aftewards to be transplanted into a more friendly climate, where they may spread and flourish to all eternity?
There is not, in my opinion, a more pleasing and triumphant consideration in religion than this, of the perpetual progress which the soul makes towards the perfection of its nature, without ever arriving at a period in it. To look upon the soul as going on from strength to strength; to consider that she is to shine, with new accessions of glory, to all eternity; that she will be still adding virtue to virtue, and knowledge to knowl edge; carries in it something wonderfully agreeable to that ambition which is natural to the mind of man.— Nay, it must be a prospect pleasing to God himself, to see his creation forever beautifying in his eyes, and drawing nearer to him, by greater degrees of resemblance.
Methinks this single consideration, of the progress of a finite spirit to perfection, will be sufficient to extinguish all envy in inferior natures,and all contempt in superior. The cherubim which now appears as a God to a human soul, knows very well that the period will come about in eternity, when the human soul shall be as perfect as he himself now is; nay, when she shall look down upon that degree of perfection as much as she now falls short of it. It is true, the higher nature still advances, and by that means preserves his distance and superiority in the scale of being; but he knows, that how high soever the station is of which he stands possessed at present,the inferior nature will at length mount up to it, and shine forth in the same degree of glory.
With what astonishment and veneration may we look into our souls, where there are such hidden stores of virtue and knowledge, such inexhausted sources of per
XII.-On the Immortality of the Soul-SPECTATOR.
AMONG other excellent arguments for the immortality of the soul, there is one drawn from the perpetual progress of the soul to its perfection, without a possibility of ever arriving at it; which is a hint that I do not remember to have seen opened and improved by others who have written on this subject, it seems to me to carry a great weight with it. How can it enter into the thoughts of man, that the soul, which is capable such immense receiving new improvements to all eternity, shall fall away into nothing, almost as soon as it is created? Are such abili ties made for no purpose? A brute arrives at a point of perfection that he can never pass; in a few years he has all the endowments he is capable of; were he to live ten thousand more, he would be the same thing he is at present. Were a human soul thus at a stand in her accomplishments; were her faculties to be full blown, and incapable of further enlargements; I could imagine it might fall away insensibly, and drop at once into a state of annihilation. But can we believe a thinking being that is in a perpetual progress of improvements, and travelling on from perfection to perfection, after having just looked abroad into the works of its Creator, and made a few discoveries of his infinite goodness, wisdom and power, must perish at her first setting out, and in the very beginning of her enquiries ?
Man, considered in his present state, does not seem born to enjoy life, but to deliver it down to others.This is not surprising to consider in animals, which are formed for our use, and can finish their business in a short life. The silkworm after having spun her task, lays her eggs and dies. But in this life man can never take in his full measure of knowledge; nor has he time to subdue his passions, establish his soul in virtue, and come up to the perfection of his nature, before he is hurried off the stage. Would an infinitely wise Being make such glorious creatures, for so mean a purpose? Can he delight in the production of such abortive intelligences, such short lived reasonable beings? Would he