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search around, facts appear, which lead us to the conclusion that no difference of soil, climate, circumstances, or habits prevents the actual occurrence, not merely of extraordinary, but of comfortable longevity in some individuals in every region. Rare they always will be, but occasionally they appear in every part of our globe; though we do not find that any nation marks it with a distinction of public honour but the Chinese, who, though inferior to civilized Europe in most things, yet, at times, display a moral wisdom which deserves our emulation.* One of the greatest tests of this in a country, and of sound moral feeling in an individual, is a personal respect to old age. It operates downward, through all our social links, to our very cradle period, with a beneficial influence that every family will be the better for.

The salubrity of England, either from its climate, its manners, or its intellectual cultivation, to the more advanced periods of social life, is indicated by the fact, that in 1834 it was calculated that there were then seventy peers in the House of Lords who were between seventy and eighty years of age, or a sixth part of the 426 of whom the house, including the bishops, consists. Eleven of these were noticed as either octogenarians, or still older.†

But in ascribing the longevity of England, and therefore of any people, to manners or conduct, I feel myself to be arrested in my opinion by a circumstance that I have just remarked in Plutarch, in his treatise on the opinions of the philosophers of his own and the anterior times; for I learn there that even our ancient Britons, in all their painted nudity and wildness, when fierce manners, and barbaric habits, and all the at Holyrood in 1745, and was beside General Wolfe when he fell on the plains of Quebec. He served in the army thirty-nine years and a half, and was discharged at eighty-one, in January, 1810. He is fresh and vigorous, and retains all his faculties entire. At quarter-day he walks from Joppa to the Excise Office at Edinburgh, a distance of four miles, and returns the same day."-Edin. Weekly Journal, Feb., 1835.

Mr. Gutzlaff mentions: "In one of the houses we saw stuck up a yellow paper, given by the emperer in token of his great respect towards an aged pair, who had lived one hundred years."-Gutz. Voyage, p. 280. †These eleven peers were thus represented:

Lord Wodehouse

93

Lord St. Helens

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81

Lord Lynedoch

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Lord Stowell

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• 80

Lord Eldon

83

Earl Powis

80

Lord Scarsdale

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80

Lord Carrington

82

evils of uncivilization, or what was nearly such, were the characteristics of their population, yet had the reputation of living to 120 years. He quotes the Greek physician who had remarked this circumstance, and contrasts them with the Ethiopians, who became old at thirty. The Grecian refers the British longevity to their colder climate, and it is certainly not possible to attribute it to any civilized improvements. From the manner in which it is mentioned, it seems not to have been an accidental circumstance, but sufficiently frequent to have drawn the notice of foreign observers at the commencement of our Christian era.*

LETTER XX.

The Natural Division of Population into moieties of Youth and Age in England.-The settled Preponderance and Power of the Elder.Effect of this established Arrangement.-Their respective Operations on each other.

MY DEAR SON,

From the facts and laws we have been recapitulating arise that state and fabric of our social world in which it is the Divine plan that mankind shall generally appear and live. The constitution of society, in our British community, will convey to you a sufficient notion of what it is in the civilized nations of the world, though each country, amid a common similarity in the great outlines, has its own specific variations.

That one half, or nearly so, of our male population are continuously under twenty years of age is an ordination by which the government of human life is permanently placed, and steadily kept in the hands and under the control of the elder moiety. In other countries the same division has the same

* "Asclepiades reports that the Ethiopians become soon aged; that is, by the time they are thirty years old; because their bodies are heated and burnt by the sun. But in Britain, men live on to 120 years, because their country is cold, and their natural heat is kept by this in their bodies, while the Ethiopian bodies are more open, from their pores being relaxed by the sun's action. Those in the arctic climes are more dense, and on this account they attain to greater longevity."-Plut., TEOL TWV upɛçk, or Plac. Phil., 1. 5, c. 30, p. 343. Ed. Ven., 1509.

See before, p. 164.

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effect, though with some differences as to the exact year and This established law, which is universal in its general operations, has been made by our Creator the groundwork of his system of human society, apparently for the express purpose that the mature part of his human creatures shall be the rulers of the rest. To secure and perpetuate this effect, it was necessary that his laws of birth and death should be so arranged and conducted that there should always be enough of the elder living from year to year to be in this commanding proportion to the younger. Such a result could only be produced by a careful adjustment of these two elements of our population, with an express view to this effect. Though individual life is always shifting and fleeting, yet this consequence is abidingly sustained.

He has further secured the stability and wisest conduct of society, and, for that purpose, the governing power and influence in it of the mature and experienced portion of it, by also causing, in our island, the males from thirty to sixty, when the human frame is in its most effective state of body and mind, to be more numerous than those from fifteen to thirty ;* so that, if the younger should be induced to rise in insurrection against their elder rulers, and struggle for the dominion, they have not the physical power to accomplish their purpose. The men from thirty to sixty would always have the victory against boys and young men between fifteen and thirty, besides the aid they would receive from the effective part of those who had attained or passed their sixtieth year.t

The elder are also the most steadily laborious and acquiring portion of society, and keep and use what they gain with more prudence and economy than the younger. Hence the property of society is also chiefly with them, especially its landed estates; and from their superior mental ability, and knowledge, and practice of life, almost all the superior offices and stations of authority, rank, business, influence, and important activities of life, are likewise with that portion who have reached and exceeded their thirtieth year. The males

* In our population of 1821, of the 5,152,052 males, 1,265,366 were between fifteen and thirty; and 1,418,195 between thirty and sixty.-Rickm. En. Abst., vol. i., p. xxxvii.

†These were 378,441; a fourth of the number between thirty and sixty would have been 354,298. All those from thirty upward to the end of life were 1,796,636.-Ib.

from thirty to sixty are a full third part of the whole male population.

To moralize, consolidate, and improve our social world still more, the yet older classes, who, from their age, are more experienced and usually wiser, or at least with more practice, and with the most calm, sedate, and peace-loving tempers and habits-those of sixty and above are in number above one fourth of the mature. These intellectually influence and modify the mature and middle-aged population, while they assist them to govern the rest. Thus human life, in this country, and analogously so everywhere else, is regulated by the mind and will, at all times, of the elder and aged members of the community. Their preponderance and power are so decided, that no contest ever takes place about it. If it ever was disputed in any country, the point has long since been settled; and, by some instances of ancient times, we find that the young, who disliked their subordination to their superiors in years, had no resource but to emigrate from them, and to found new settlements for themselves in other localities.*

*Though it will be always proper for the young, amid their strenuous efforts to elevate or benefit themselves, to keep steadily in view the principle so shortly, but emphatically expressed by Shakspeare

"I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more is none;"

yet it will be always true, that they must derive their worldly comforts and mental improvements from their own spontaneous and well-directed activities. They must resist the temptations to self-indulgent remissness. But on this point I cannot quote a more impressive authority, or a more persuasive recommendation, than the sentiments of Sir Robert Peel, in that address to the students of Glasgow which so admirably combines the characters of the statesman, the philosopher, and the Christian, and which has come to my hand as about to send these papers to the press.

"Let me assure you, with all the earnestness of the deepest conviction, founded on the opportunities of observation which public life and intercourse with the world have afforded, that your success, your eminence, your happiness, are much more independent of the accidents and caprices of fortune, and infinitely more within your own control, than they appear to be to superficial observers. There lies before you a boundless field of exertion. Whatever be your pursuit, whatever be the profession which you may choose, the avenues of fame are open to you, or at least are obstructed by no barriers of which you may not command the key. "I have said that the avenues to distinction are free, and that it is within your power to command an entrance to them. I repeat, with the earnestness of the deepest conviction, there is in my mind a presumption, amounting almost to certainty, that if any one of you will determine to

This plan and arrangement of our social economy secure the submission and docility of the young, and keep society from being shattered by their more turbulent passions, by their eagerness of will, and national excitability and restlessness. It compels them to be teachable and to learn; because all that will be gratifications to them are in the possession of their elders, from whom they are not strong or numerous enough to force it. On these they must be dependant for all they wish and like, and to these be subjected. They can only get what Ley want through the channels and by the means which these Bow and have established. These necessities preserve the meady order and daily tranquillity of society. All goes on everywhere in a regular and peaceable course, because the mature and aged are thus, in all classes and conditions, the sovereigns of those who would be, without this irresistible arrangement, the perpetual agents and instruments of agitaSon and disquiet, from their moveabilities, impulses, passions, and inexperience, I do not pretend to say that the elder are aid or always wise; but they contain the wisest and most insellectual part of the coexisting society at all times, whether the degree of their capacity or moral attainments be high or considerable.

We have remarked that America has more young persons of sixteen, and fewer elder persons of fifty and upward, than Great Britain. The consequence of this difference, in these portions of their population, must be, that society in the United States will be less under the government and influence of the mature and the aged, and will be more restless and agitated by its violent, headstrong, and impassioned junior classes. There will be a minor proportion of moral wisdom, and of intellectual life and pursuits, than in our own island; because there will be a less proportion of the living heads in which these qualities reside. From the account of many rerent travellers, the American social world seems to be an illustration of these inferences.

But while this distribution of life has established so firmly

be eminent in whatever profession you may choose, and will act with unvarying steadiness in pursuance of that determination, you will, if health and strength be given to you, infallibly succeed."

I read these words as the voice of the heart, and as the genuine expressions of what the illustrious speaker has felt, has acted upon, and has been so splendidly benefited by.

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