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who received them. An oaken garland, to be worn on festivals and public ceremonies, was the glorious recompense of one who had covered a citizen in battle. A soldier would not only venture his life for a mural crown, but think the most hazardous enterprize sufficiently repaid by so noble a donation.
But, among all honorary rewards which are neither dangerous nor detrimental to the donor, I remember none so remarkable as the titles which are bestowed by the emperor of China.
" These are never given to any subject,” says monsieur le Comte, “ till the subject is dead. If he has pleased his emperor to the last, he is called in all pub. lic memorials by the title which the emperor confers on him after his death, and his children take their ranks accordingly.” This keeps the ambitious subject in a perpetual dependence, making him always vigilant and active, and in every thing conformable to the will of his sovereign.
There are no honorary rewards among us, which are more esteemed by the persons who receive them, and are cheaper to the prince, than the giving of medals. But there is something in the modern manner of celebrating a great action in medals, which makes such a reward much less valuable than it was among the Romans. There is generally but one coin stamped upon the occasion, which is made a present to the person who is celebrated on it. By this means the whole fame is in his own custody. The applause that is bestowed upon him is too much limited and confined. He is in possession of an honour which the world perhaps knows nothing of. He
He may be a great man in his own family, his wife and children may see the monument of an exploit, which the public in a little time is a stranger to. The Romans took
a quite different method in this particular. Their medals were their current money.
When an action deserved to be recorded on a coin, it was stamped perhaps upon a hundred thousand pieces of money, like our shillings or halfpence, which were issued out of the mint, and became current. This method published every noble action to advantage, and in a short space of time spread through the whole Roman empire. The Romans were so careful to preserve the memory of great events upon their coins, that when any particular piece of money grew very scarce, it was often recoined by a succeeding emperor, many years after the death of the emperor to whose honour it was first struck.
A friend of mine drew up a project of this kind during the late ministry, which would then have been put in execution, had it not been too busy a time for thoughts of that nature. As this project has been very much talked of by the gentleman abovementioned to men of the greatest genius as well as quality, I am informed there is now a design on foot for executing the proposal which was then made, and that we shall have several farthings and halfpence charged on the reverse with many of the glorious particulars of her majesty's reign. This is one of those arts of peace which may very well deserve to be cultivated, and which
be of great use to posterity.
As I have in my possession the copy per abovementioned, which was delivered to the late lord treasurer, * I shall here give the public a sight of it; for I do not question but that the curious part of my readers will be very well pleased to
of the pa
Earl of Godolphin.
see so much matter, and so many useful hints upon this subject, laid together in so clear and concise a manner :
“The English have not been so careful as other polite nations to preserve the memory of their great actions and events on medals. Their subjects are few, their mottoes and devices mean, and the coins themselves not numerous enough to spread among the people, or descend to posterity.
“ The French have outdone us in these particulars, and by the establishment of a society for the invention of proper inscriptions and designs, have the whole history of their present king in a regular series of medals.
They have failed, as well as the English, in coining so small a number of each kind, and those of such costly metals that each species may be lost in a few ages, and is at present no where to be met with but in the cabinets of the curious.
“ The ancient Romans took the only effectual method to disperse and preserve their medals, by making them their current money.
“ Every thing glorious or useful, as well in peace as war, gave occasion to a different coin. Not only an expedition, victory, or triumph, but the exercise of a solemn devotion, the remission of a duty or tax, a new temple, seaport, or highway, were transmitted to posterity after this man
“The greatest variety of devices are on their copper money, which have most of the designs that are to be met with on the gold and silver, and several peculiar to that metal only. By this means they were dispersed into the remotest corners of the empire, came into the possession of the poor as well as rich, and were in no danger of pe
rishing in the hands of those that might have melted down coins of a more valuable metal.
“ Add to all this, that the designs were invented by men of genius, and executed by a decree of the senate.
“ It is therefore proposed :
“1. That the English farthings and halfpence be recoined upon the union of the two nations.
“ 2. That they bear devices and inscriptions alluding to all the most remarkable parts of her majesty's reign.
“ 3. That there be a society established, for the finding out of proper subjects, inscriptions, and devices.
“ That no subject, inscription, or device, be stamped without the approbation of this society; nor, if it be thought proper, without the authority of privy council.
"By this means, medals, that are at present only a dead treasure, or mere curiosities, will be of use in the ordinary commerce of life, and at the same time, perpetuate the glories of her majesty's reign, reward the labours of her greatest subjects, keep alive in the people a gratitude for public services, and excite the emulation of posterity. To these generous purposes nothing can so much contribute as medals of this kind, which are of undoubted authority, of necessary use and observation, not perishable by time, nor confined to any certain place; properties not to be found in books, statues, pictures, buildings, orany other monuments of illustrious actions."
THE INTELLIGENCER,* No. I.
be said, without offence to other cities of much greater consequence to the world, that our town of Dublin does not want its due proportion of folly and vice, both native and imported; and as to those imported, we have the advantage to receive them last, and consequently, after our happy manner, to improve and refine
But because there are many effects of folly and vice among us, whereof some are general, others, confined to smaller numbers, and others again perhaps to a few individuals; there is a society lately established, who at great expense have erected an office of intelligence, from which they are to receive weekly information of all important events and singularities, which this famous metropolis can furnish. Strict injunctions are given to have the truest information ; in order to which, certain qualified persons are employed to attend upon duty in their several posts; some at the playhouse, others in churches; some at balls, assemblies, coffeehouses, and meetings for quadrille;
* These numbers are extracted from a periodical paper, published at Dublin, by Sheridan, with the occasional assistance of his illustrious friend,