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and by the perfect state of the various sciences relating to medicine, the modern physician is not only able to recover the human body from the various attacks of disease, but he is able to anticipate its causes, and to prevent its approach to a degree of moral certainty. But more even than this can be effected by the magic of modern science. The physician can prolong life to treble that time which was formerly considered its natural period of duration, and can at once render the human body secure from disease and free from deformity. Those medicines which with infallible security either totally prevent, or if not applied in time for prevention, will rapidly cure the gout, stone, phthisis pulmonalis, and other disorders, are now known to all. But, does Nature make us feeble and diminutive, the physician calculates the means by which he can effect the accretion of particles to the various parts of our bodies, and thus render his patient perfect in symmetry. If our teeth are not to the model of perfection, they can be extracted without pain, and by taking those elements of which by analysis teeth are found to be composed, they may be regenerated, and during their growth they can be formed to the standard of ideal beauty. Is our vision imperfect, the medicines which are found to affect the size and colour of our eyes are applied, and in a week those organs are both beautiful and of perfect operation. Thus are we brought to a state free from disease, a state of longevity, in which our form and features have no model but that formed by our ideas of perfection and beauty.
The manner in which the numerous productions of the earth are now exchanged between man and man, is beautiful from the simplicity of its cause, and from the effect it has upon human happiness. It was a plausible theory amongst the ancients, that a statesman of wisdom should sit in his closet as in a focus of knowledge, to which should be brought all the returns of custom houses, with the various reports and data of commercethat, weighing these in the balance of wisdom, he should be able to instruct corporate bodies as well as individuals, as to the various channels into which their capital and industry should
From hence had arisen commercial treaties, bounties, drawbacks, imposts, licenses, &c. until the simple principles of trade were lost in the most complex and absurd systems of commercial polity. But the experience of ages has at length proved what the speculations of ingenious men had previously advanced, and man is now very properly left to direct his capital and labour according to his own knowledge and discretion. Is it not the height of impertinence for a statesman to say to him who enters a commercial city for the purposes of trade, “Sir, you shall not employ your capital according to your own knowledge and experience, but according to my conceptions of commerce : you want to trade to the West; I think it better that trade should flow to the East, and I have therefore laid heavy duties, and even prohibitions upon western trade, whilst I will encourage eastern trade by drawbacks, bounties, and special immunities”? Thus every thing was forced out of its natural channel, and every country may be said to have been in a sort of peaceful siege. Now things are left to their own level. The common principles of demand and supply are now acknowledged to regulate markets much better than legislatorial calculations and interference. Human necessities and the common principles of our nature are found to constitute the best barometers of commercial policy, and individuals are permitted to trade with their wealth, according to their own knowledge and calculations. Thus we have no circuitous channels of communication--no licensing-bonding---no unloading to load again, no. entering one port as a passport into another, no waste of labour ; man freely exchanges with man, and the bounties of Providence are diffused over the whole earth.
Last year, no less than 734 vessels sailed from Alaska, and the western coast of America, through the channels separating America from North Georgia and Greenland. It is curious to reflect that the very existence of such a passage was a problem of difficult solution to the Europeans from the 16th to the 19th centuries. This was then called the North-west passage, and was first discovered by a navigator of great celebrity amongst the ancient English ; but whether bis name was Parry or Croker it is now impossible to ascertain, from the imperfect state of our records at that period.
The Honourable Mr. Northerly, we understand, intends to take his lady and their children in their yacht this summer to traverse the North Pole.
A chemist, deeply read in the sciences of the middle ages, (the 18th and 19th centuries of the Christian æra) assures us that the English men of science about the year 1800, plumed themselves much upon their discovering the means of making brilliant lights by reflectors, and the different gases of oil and coal burnt in various descriptions of lamps. How these pigmies would have hid their diminished heads, could they have foreseen our present perfection in lighting the atmosphere, by exciting attraction and motion among the constituent particles of light and heat. The aërometer of New York, at a trifling expense, produces a light in the atmosphere equal to the brightest moon-shine. So that darkness is unknown to the moderns, and we experience only the gradations between the light of the moon and that of the sun.
And learn to try false merit by the true. STILLINGFLEET. Yes—the English are unquestionably an unsociable people. I had frequently heard the assertion, but my mind rebels against taking things for granted upon the faith of others ; and as I had not the means of deciding by comparison, I kept the point open for future judgment, as my Lord Chancellor is apt to do when he does not know what to believe. A residence of some months abroad has helped me to a verdict much sooner, and at much
expense, than I could have obtained it in our courts of law, which is my only consolation in making the reluctant confession, that the charge is unquestionably true. The gods have made me ratiocinative (you will not, however, suspect me of being a Scotchman, Mr. Editor, when I inform you that I resided for some months in that country after arriving at years of discretion); and I had no sooner discovered the fact than I proceeded to explore the causes of this English antipathy to communicativeness and good fellowship; which, after tracing them through all their ramifications and disguises, I found invariably converging in one little corner of the heart, inscribed with the wordPride. Bruce was not satisfied when he bestrode the three streams whose union formed the Nile; he would still ascertain which was the highest and most abundant source from which the waters were supplied : and in like manner I pursued my researches until I found that the great Pride fountain from which the bitter waters of English reserve pour their petrifying influence, was the pride of Wealth. National pride-pride of birth -of rank—of talent-I had encountered in foreign countries; but this master-folly, which in England swallows up all the rest, appears to be indigenous to the soil, sharing that honour with its congenial products the crab-apple and the thistle. To a certain extent this feeling may have originated in the absolute necessity for riches, in a country where no man can maintain an establishment, or even move in circles at all elevated above the mechanical classes, unless he possess an income which upon the Continent would enable him to compete with half the nobility. Without this infallible proof of his gentility, he must subside at once into those profane ranks of the vulgar, which Horace abominated--a degradation to which the perpetually rising tide of prices, during the last war, condemned many an unpensioned old maid and respectable annuitant. It is a pity, undoubtedly, that this distinctive income should necessarily be fixed at so high a rate ; but who will regret it when he reflects upon the accumulated glory of which our heavy taxation is so good a virtual representative :-when he calls to mind, that, by the great sacrifices we have made, we have been able to restore the Bourbons of France and Spain, and countenance the dismemberment of Saxony and Finland ; while we have been only unable to keep our promises to Genoa and Sicily, or prevent the unjust enslavement of Italy? It is some comfort to the poor plebeian who cannot afford to be a gentleman, to throw the blame of his exclusion from polished society, and of our expensive modes of living, upon ministers; but the paltry distinctions, the jealous hauteur, the “ meanness that soars, and pride that licks the dust,” the envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness, embittering the system of that social intercourse into which he is unable to gain admittance, are the faults of the people themselves, and may well reconcile him to his exemption from their influence. Let king, lords, and commons retain their respective pales ;-we speak not in any spirit of anarchy or levelling; but we would laugh to scorn those fantastical shades of difference, by which the middling classes affect to regulate their intercourse, and which, however disguised, ultimately resolve themselves into that most contemptible of all prides—the pride of purse. Talents, virtue, powers of amusement, congeniality of disposition, all fade away before the irresistible attraction of a certain stile in establishment; and who can wonder that parties constituted upon this principle are uniformly stiff
, stupid, and ceremonious? In assemblages of this sort, it sometimes appears to be a received maxim, that talking spoils good society, and its most distinguished members are apt to resemble Baron Grimm's friend, who possessed such a wonderful talent for silence.
There is scarcely a parish in England which is not divided into visiting classes, kept separate with almost as rigid an inviolability as the castes of the Hindoos. The squire, the retired manufacturer or merchant, who inhabits the great mansion, looks around him for all the similar establishments within the limits of a drive or ride, and confines the honour of his acquaintance to those whose merits are attested by an unquestionable quantity of brick and mortar. He visits the house, not its inmates; and his mode of estimating their value, is not a whit less preposterous than that of the pedant in Hierocles, who, having a house to sell, used to carry about a brick in his pocket as a specimen. Next comes the class who, without arriving at the dignity of a park or a domain, have been fortunate enough to lay up a store of gout and ill health, by keeping their own carriages. They remember the proud exclamation of the Spaniard who fell in crossing his garden--" this comes of walking upon earth,”—and carefully abstain from noticing all such terrestrial animals. They compose friendships as Sir Richard Blackmore did his poems, to the rumbling of their carriage-wheels, and entertain a vague notion of Damon and Pythias, Pylades and Orestes, Æneas and Achates, as gentlemen in easy circumstances, who duly went to call on one another in their own chariots, and scrupulously left cards if either happened to be out. In the third class are those petty dignitaries, who, as a line must be drawn somewhere, openly maintain the double resolution of only visiting where a man-servant is kept, and a shop is not kept. The former is the grand desideratum. It was once the fashion, says the author of the Tale of a Tub, for all the world to wear shoulder-knots? “ That fellow has no soul, exclaims one ;-where is his shoulder-knot:” Exactly thus do their modern imitators doubt whether a man can possibly possess a soul fit for their sublime notice, unless there be a tag, rag, and bobtail, flapping from his servant's shoulder. That Desdemona should “ see the Moor's complexion in his mind," and fall in love with a black, they condemn as unnatural, at the very moment when they are perhaps attaching themselves to a blackguard, because they see a bit of gold lace upon his footman's collar. Last of all come the oi pollo--the canaille--the rabble—the lower orders, as they are termed, whose social intercourse, if not so refined as that of their superiors, is probably more productive of enjoyment by its freedom, unreserve, and exemption from all heart-burning and rivalry. Knowing that “ their miseries can never lay them lower," they exemplify the meeting of extremes, and prove that the only classes who taste the true comforts of fellowship, are the few who are above jealousy, and the many who are beneath it.
Nor is this absurd arrogance by any means peculiar to the country: it exists in full force among the middling classes of London, particularly in the city, where, indeed, the virus of the disease might be expected to manifest itself with peculiar malignity. Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme is there daily enacted with even more farcical pretension than Moliêre would have ventured to delineate ; and I have often seen substantial citizens, after laughing heartily in the theatre at the representation of High Life Below Stairs, return home to perform, in their own persons, the very follies which they had ridiculed in their inferiors. Some of your readers, Mr. Editor, may perhaps recollect an awful and august conclave of saltatory civic magnificos, who ycleped themselves the City assembly, and held their solemn festivities beneath the appropriate roof of Haberdashers' Hall,
vol. 11. NO. VIII.