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probable manner, the plan of an ancient edifice; supplying, by genius and happy conjectures, what was wanting in these unformed and mutilated ruins.
It is in this point of view that we ought to consider the work of M. de Montesquieu. He finds the causes of the grandeur of the Romans in that love of liberty, of labour, and of their country, which was instilled into them during their infancy; in those intestine divisions, which gave an activity to their genius, and which ceased immediately upon the appearance of an enemy; in that constancy after misfortunes, which never despaired of the republic; in that principle they adhered to of never making peace but after victories; in the honour of a triumph, which was a subject of emulation among the generals; in that protection which they granted to those people who rebelled against their kings; in the excellent policy of permitting the conquered to preserve their religion and customs; and that of never having two enemies upon their hands at once, and of bearing every thing of the one, till they had destroyed the other. He finds the causes of their declension in the aggrandizement of the state itself; in those distant wars, which obliging the citizens to be too long absent, made them insensibly lose their republican spirit; in the privilege of being citizens of Rome granted to so many nations, which made the Roman people at last become a sort of many headed monster; in the corruption introduced by the luxury of Asia; in the proscriptions of Sylla, which debased the genius of the nation, and prepared it for slavery; in that necessity which the Romans found themselves in of having a master, while their liberty was become burthensome to them; in that necessity they were obliged to of
changing their maxims when they changed their government; in that series of monsters who reigned, almost without interruption, from Tiberius to Nerva, and from Commodus to Constantine; in a word, in the translation and division of the empire, which perished first in the west by the power of barbarians, and which, after having languished several ages in the east, under weak or cruel Emperors, insensibly died away, like those rivers which disap pear in the sands.
A very small volume was enough for M. de Montesquieu to explain and unfold so interesting and vast a picture. As the author did not insist upon the detail, and only seized on the most fruitful branches of his subject, he has been able to include in a very small space, a vast number of objects distinctly perceived, and rapidly presented, without fatiguing the reader. While he points out a great deal to us, he leaves us still more to reflect upon; and he might have entitled his book, A Roman History for the use of Statesmen and Philosophers.
Whatever reputation M. de Montes. quieu had acquired by this last work, and by those which had preceded it, he had only cleared the way for a far grander undertaking for that which ought to immortalize his name, and render it respectable to future ages. He had long ago formed the design: and had meditated for twenty years upon the execution of it; or, to speak more properly, his whole life had been a perpetual meditation upon it. He had first made himself in some respect a stranger to his own country, better to understand it at last he had afterwards travelled over all Europe, and profoundly studied the different people who inhabit it. The famous island, which glories so much in her. laws, and which makes so bad a use
of them, had been to him in this long tour, what the isle of Crete had formerly been to Lycurgus,-a school where he had known well how
to instruct himself, without approving every thing: in a word, he had, if we may so speak, examined and judged those celebrated natious and men who only exist at present in the annals of the world. It was thus that he attained by degrees to the noblest title which a wise inan can deserve that of legislator of nations.
If he was animated by the importance of his subject, he was at the same time terrified by its extensiveness; he abandoned it, and returned to it again at several intervals. He felt more than once, as he himself owns, his paternal hands fail him. At last, encouraged by his friends; he collected all his strength, and published the Spirit of Laws.
garded by it with much indifference. It was requisite that the true judges should have time to read it: they very soon corrected the errors of the
multitude, always ready to change its opinion. That part of the public which teaches, dictated to that which listens to hear how it ought to think and speak; and the suffrages of men of abilities, joined to the echoes which repeated them, formed only one voice over all Eu
Scarce had the Spirit of Laws appeared, but it was eagerly sought after on account of the reputation of its author: but though M. de Montesquieu had wrote for the good of the people, he ought not to have had the vulgar for his judge. The depth of his subject was a necessary consequence of its importance. How ever, the strokes which were scat tered up and down the work, and which would have been displaced if they had not arisen naturally from the subject, made too many people believe that it was wrote for them. People sought for an agreeable book, and they only found an useful one; the whole scheme and particular details of which they could not com prehend without some attention. The Spirit of Laws was treated with a deal of light wit; even the title of it was made a subject of pleasantry; in a word, one of the finest literary monuments which our nation ever produced, was at first re
горе. It was then that the open and secret enemies of letters and philosophy (for there are of both kinds) united their darts against this work. Hence that multitude of pamphlets which were aimed against him from all parts, and which we shall not draw out from that oblivion in which they have sunk. If those authors had not taken proper measures to be unknown to posterity, it might be believed that the Spirit of Laws was wrote amidst a nation of barbarians.
M. de Montesquieu easily despised the dark criticisms of those weak authors, who, whether out of a jealousy which they had no title to have, or to satisfy the public ill-nature, which loves satire and contempt, outrageously attack what they cannot attain to; and more odious on account of the ill which they want to do, than formidable for that which they actually do, do not succeed even in this kind of writing, the facility of which, as well as its object, rendered equally mean. He placed works of this kind on the same level with those weekly newspapers of Europe, the encomiums of which have no authority, and their darts no effect; which indolent readers run over without giving credit to, and in which sovereigns are insulted without knowing it, or with out deigning to revenge it. But he was not equally indifferent about those principles of irreligion which
they accused him of having propagated in the Spirit of Laws. By despising such reproaches, he would bave believed that be deserved them; and the importance of the object, made him shut his eyes at the real meanness of his adversaries. Those men, who really want zeal as much as they are eager to make it appear that they have it, afraid of that light which letters diffuse, not to the prejudice of religion, but to their own disadvantage, took different ways of attacking him; some by a stratagem which was as peurile as pusillanimous, had wrote to himself; others, after having attacked him under the mask of anonymous writers, had afterwards fallen by the ears among themselves. M. de Montesquieu, though he was very jealous of confounding them with each other, did not think it proper to lose time, which was precious, in combating them one after another; he contented himself with making an example of him who had most signalized himself by his extravagance. It was the author of an anonymous and periodical paper, who imagined that he had a title to succeed Pascal, because he has sucCLeded to his opinions; a panegyrist
" SEE ALL THINGS FOR MY USE."
SUPERSTITION has often arisen from an overweening idea of our own self-importance, as if all the movements of nature, ordinary, and extraordinary, had some reference to our puny concerns. It is related of Henry IV. of France, who though possessing in many respects a strong nind, was not free from a debasing superstition, that a comet which appeared in 1607, gave him much a
of works which no body reads, aud an apologist of miracles which the secular power put an end to, whenever it wanted to do it; who call the little interest which people of letters take in his quarrels, impious and scandalous; and hath by an address worthy of him, alienated from himself that part of the nation whose affections he ought chiefly to have endeavoured to keep. The strokes of this formidable champion were worthy of those views which inspir ed him; he accused M. de Montesquieu of spinosism and deisin (two imputations which are incompatible); of having followed the system of Pope (of which there is not a word in his works); of having quoted Plutarch, who is not a christian author; of not having spoken of original sin and of grace. In a word, he pretended that the Spirit of Laws was a production of the constitution Unigenitus; an idea which we may perhaps be suspected of fathering on the critic out of derision. Those who have known M. de Montesquieu, and who understand work, and that of Clement XI., may judge by this accusation of the rest. (To be concluded in our next.)
larm, and induced him to take precautions for the health of his chidien, because the astrologers gave out that it threatened their lives. Henry IV. said to Matthieu, his historian, who relates it," that the comet had shed its influence on the daughter of the King of England; and that through God's mercy, the astrologers had been mistaken." What folly! The revolutions of the heavenly bodies had no concern with
him, or his children, or, with those of James I. or any other monarch or mortal, high or low, either prince or beggar. With what absurdity of self-conceit does man place himself, as in the centre of the universe, and fondly imagine himself of such importance, that all nature is employed in giving warnings to him! Astrology and the doctrines of omens had their origin in an inordinate self-love. Slow-retiring superstition keeps a hold over many minds, and under the vain conceits of dreams, particular providences, warnings, omens, &c. still retains an extensive although diminished empire. K.
ATTACHMENT OF COURTIERS.
The Duke of Sully in his memoirs, thus describes the favour of summer friends, and the uncertainty of prosperity: "those years were full of glory and prosperity for me, but they are past: those friends so affectionate have disappeared with my favour: those allies so respectful have vanished with my fortune."
we will treat you with the best roast fowls and port wine that London can produce."-" But I will have neither my dinner nor myplace of eating prescribed to me," answered Cuzzona, in a sharper tone, "else I need never have wanted."-" Forgive me," cried the gentleman, " do your own way; but eat, in the name of God, and restore fainting nature." She thanked him then, and calling to her a friendly wretch, who inhabited the same theatre of misery, gave him the guinea with which the visitor had accompanied the last words," and run with this money," said she, "to such a wine-merchant," naming him; "he is the only one keeps good Tokay by him-'tis a guinea a bottle— mind you,"—to the boy," and bid the gentleman you buy it of, to give you a loaf into the bargain-he won't refuse." In half an hour the lad returned with the Tokay; " but. where," cried Cuzzona, "is the loaf I spoke for?"-" The merchant would give me no loaf," replied her messenger," he drove me from the door, and asked me if I took him for a baker."" Blockhead!" exclaimed she, "why I must have bread to my wine, you know, and I have not a penny to purchase any; go, beg me a loaf directly." The fellow returns once more, with one in his hand, and a halfpenny, telling that the gentleman threw it to him, and laughed at his impudence. She gave her Mercury the money, broke the bread into a bason which stood near, and poured the Tokay over it, and devoured the whole with eagerness. This was indeed a heroine in profusion. Some active persons procured her a benefit after this; she gained about £350, and laid out two hundred of the money instantly in a shell-cap, such things being then worn.
Dr. Johnson's improviso verses, made on a young heir's coming of age, are highly capable of restrain
Two Italian gentlemen were walk ing leisurely up the Hay-market, sometime in the year 1749, lamenting the fate of the famous Cuzzona, an actress who some time before had been in high vogue, but was then, as they heard, in a very pitiable situation. Let us go and visit her, said one of them, she lives but over the way. The other consented; and calling at the door, they were shown up stairs, but found the fa ded beauty dull and spiritless, unable or unwilling to converse on any subject-"How's this?" cried one of her consolers, "are you ill? or is it but low spirits chains your tongue 80?"—" Neither," replied she, "'tis hunger, I suppose. I ate nothing yesterday, and 'tis now past six o'clock, and not one, penny have I in the world to buy me food.""Come with us instantly to a tavern,
BELFAST MAG. NO. XXXV.
ing extravagance, and wanton wastefulness-if they are to be restrained.
Long expected one and twenty,
Call the Betsys, Kates, and Jennys, All the names that banish care; Lavish of your grandsire's guineas, Shew the spirit of an heir.
All that prey on vice or folly
Wealth, my lad, was made to wander,
When the bonny blade carouses, Pockets full, and spirits high,What are acres? What are houses? Only dirt, or wet or dry!
Should the guardian, friend, or mother,
Piozzi's British Synonymy.
Louis de Courcillen de Dangeau, abbot of Fontaine-Daniel and Clermont, was himself a convert, and as conversion was much in vogue, under the devout Lewis XIV he sine times employed himself in this work. Of one instance of success, however, he did not boast. An unbeliever. who probably had been so through fashion, and became a convert from the same principle, went directly to the opposite extreme of superstitious credulity. "Alas!" said the abbot, I have but just proved to this giddy-head the existence of a God, and he is ready to believe in the christening of bells."
A MILD CHECK TO INTOLERANCE.
When Bishop Morley was consult ed by a mayor of a country corpora
tion, what method he should take to root out the fanatics in the year of his mayorality; the bishop, now grown old, first preached friendliness to him, by ordering him a glass of Canary as oft as he started the question in company; and next admonished him, when alone, to let these people live quietly, in many of whom he was satisfied there was the true fear of God, and who were not likely to be gained by rigour and severity. School Books.
THE ODYSSEY AND THE ILIAD.
Ir is a subject of surprise that in our schools and academies, the ILIAD should be used as a standard classic in preference to the ODYSSEY, equally well suited to convey the knowledge of the Greek language, and so much superior in its morality and lessons of life. One is tempted to exclaim, in the translation of Cowper, which, always, gives us the character as well as the sense of the divine original,
..How can we overlook
Divine Ulysses, whose courageous heart, With such peculiar cheerfulness endures Whatever toils, and whom Minerva loves. We should naturally have expected that preceptors, and professors, who are generally of the clerical profession, would have been solicitous to turn away the eyes, and the hearts of their pupils, from the immoral theology, the ferocious passions, the splendid and dangerous fallacies of the Iliad. From the partialities of its poet, we should have turned them to the perfect model and example which the Odyssey opens to our enraptured view, of perseverance, of patience, of prudence, (the providence of the human being) of modest magnanimity, of the most pleasing urbanity, of the most inplicit confidence in divine protection, and in fine of the LOVE OF COUNTRY. We should have been eager to set before them a soul replete with the sweetness of the natal soil, that per