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leffon of the rudiments, and confult their genius, before they enter into their academical career.

The fpecimen I mean now to offer, is from a gentleman whofe father was rich and powerful, and placed him in a fituation of opulence in the early part of his life, fending him to vifit foreign nations, with a companion of the most enlightened understanding, and elegant taste.

He returned from his travels, after having ftored his mind with useful knowledge, and his imagination with the beautiful objects of refined fpeculation. He went abroad, not to affociate with fox-hunting or lounging Englishmen, to keep the most fashionable opera girls at Paris or Naples, and to gallop over Europe, that he might take a feat in parliament, and begin his career at home with being prefented at court on his return from the grand tour of the continent; but to render himself wiser and better, like the king of Ithaca, by feeing many cities, and ftudying the laws, manners and improvements of society in foreign countries.

This gentleman, my moft excellent friend, in whose converfation and correfpondence I have delighted for more than five and twenty years paft, in spite of the infirmities of old age, and the enervating as well as excruciating pains of the gout, has retained the relish of life, by being well acquainted with its materials, and knowing, how, like a fkilful cook, to mix what are nourishing with what are palatable, and to ferve up the dainties of it for his daily use and enjoyment, and the enjoyment of his friends.

Living in a venal country, debafed by political corruption, and distracted by faction, he affociated himself with those who were fuperior to the firft, because they would not fuffer theinfelves to be entangled by the latter. Full of rational curiofity himself, he gathered together around him, by a moral power of attraction, those who were under the influence of this divine energy, which,


like the vernal delight and joy of Milton, is " enough to drive all sadness but defpair."

Sometimes he amufed himself with collecting ufeful information for the illuftration of the history of his country; fometimes flitting over the furfaces of fugitive events, and moralifing on the flippery fortunes of the paffing world of the day; but oftener setting down with poignant remark what escaped the notice of others, and making his obfervations fubfervient to that noble art of idleness, which is the fubject of my prefent refearch.

About fix years ago, I received a letter from this charming companion, and inftructive friend, which I felect as an inftance of the most ingenious and ingenuous application of fenfe, wit, and good humour, to the drawing forth of agreeable reflections from the occurrences of the day.


"You are too condefcending, when you incline to keep up a correfpondence with one who can expect to maintain it but a fhort time, and whofe intervals of health are refigned to idleness, not dedicated, as they have fometimes been, toliterary purfuits; for what could I purfue with any profpect of accomplishment? or what avails. it to ftore a memory that must lofe fafter than it acquires? Your zeal for illuminating your country and countrymen is laudable, and you are young enough to make a progrefs; but a man, who touches the verge of his fixty eighth year, ought to know, that he is unfit to contribute to the amusement of more active minds. This confideration makes me much decline correfpondence; having nothing new to communicate, I perceive that I fill my letters with apologies for having nothing to fay. The discoveries made by Herschell, which you have been fo good as to communicate, are flu enduous indeed You have launched my meditations into fuch a vast field, that if I tapped one channel, I should

May 18, write a volume, and perhaps finish in the clouds. How puny, how diminutive are thofe difcoveries we used formerly to boaft of, when compared to thofe of Herfchell, who puts up millions of covies of worlds at a beat. My conception is not ample enough to take in even a fketch of his glimpfes; and left I fhould lofe myself in attempting to follow his investigations, I recal my mind home, and apply it to reflect on what we thought we knew, when we imagined we knew fomething (which we deemed a vast deal) pretty correctly, Segrais, I think it was, who faid with much contempt, to a lady who talked of her star; "Your ftar! there 66 are but two thousand stars in all; and do you ima"gine, madam, that you have a whole one to yourself?” The foolish dame, it feems, was not more ignorant than Segrais himfelf. If our fyftem includes twenty millions of worlds, the lady had as much right to pretend to a whole ticket, as the philofopher had to treat her like a fervant-maid, who buys a chance for a day in a ftate lottery.

"Stupenduous as Mr. Herschell's investigations are, and admirable as his talents, his expreffion of our retired corner feems a little improper. When a little. emmet standing on its ant-hill, could get a peep into infinity, how could he think he faw a corner of it? a retired corner! Is there a bounded fide to infinitude? If there are twenty millions of worlds, why not as many and as many more? Oh! one's imagination cracks! I long to bait within distance of home, and reft at the moon. Mr. Herfchell will content me, if he can discover thirteen provinces there, well inhabited by men and women, and protected by the law of nations; that law which was enacted by Europe for its own emolument, to the prejudice of the other three parts of the globe, and which beftows the property of the whole realms on the first person who happens to espy them, çan annex them to the crown of Great Britain, in lieu of those it has loft beyond the Atlantic.

"I am very ignorant in aftronomy, as ignorant as Segrais, or the lady, and could wish to ask many questions; as, whether our celeftial globes must not be infinitely magnified? Our Orreries too, must not they be given to children, and new ones conftructed, that will at leaft take in our retired corner, and all its outlying constellations? Muft not that host of worlds be christened? Mr. Herschell himself has stood godfather for his Majesty to the new Sidus. His Majesty, thank God, has a numerous iffue; but they, and all the princes and princeffes in Europe, cannot fupply appellations enow for twenty millions of new-born stars; no, though the royal progenies of Auftria, Naples, and Spain, who have each two dozen of faints for fponfers, fhould confent to split their beadroll of names among the foundlings :-But I find I talk like an old nurfe; and you at last will be convinced, that it is not worth your while to keep up a correspondence with a man in his dotage, merely because he has the honour to be

Your most obedient humble servant

H. W. "P. S. One wish I cannot help adding to this letter: It is, that fince our eyes can be fo wonderfully affifted, we could also improve others of our fenfes. Since we contrive to fee 1710 millions of miles beyond the sun, one should think it poffible to form a trumpet for hear ing what is said in the moon, which, in comparison is but just over the way. I do not wonder that Bishop Wilkins was ambitious of getting thither, even upon the very narrow fund of knowledge that we then poffeffed."

From this specimen of the happy difpofition of the refined and glorious fons of idleness, to draw pleasure and to diffuse it all around them, from whatever offers on the gliding current of the everflowing tide of the affairs of men, I hope to recommend this study to my readers; and remain, their devoted fervant ALBANICUS.

Differtation to justify the Account of the Trojan War, given by Homer, in oppofition to that of John MacLaurin, Efq. Lord Dreghorn.

AN attempt to prove that Troy was not taken by the Greeks, feems to me more calculated to fhew the very great ingenuity of the writer, than to convince the reader.

It may, with safety, be maintained, that letters were ufed in Greece a confiderable time prior to the Trojan war. They are mentioned by a variety of authors, as brought into Greece from Phoenicia, by Cadmus the founder of Thebes, who lived, from the best accounts, above a century previous to that period. It appears from the Pentateuch, there were letters before the decalogue; and the Egyptians are supposed to have been the original inventors. Suidas too gives us part of the writings of Orpheus, who was one of the Argonauts ; But fuppofe the Greeks had, in general, known little of writing, it is very plain from Homer, they had bards in every court; and the kingdoms then in Afia and Greece were little better than thofe of the thirty kingdoms into which Britain was formerly divided, as mentioned by Dr. Henry, in which they also had their bards in this country. The accounts of the Trojan war were communicated by means of these bards, little flower than those of others are at prefent, by means of printing. The accounts of different bards were checks one upon another, and popular tradition, upon them all. It was, therefore, a work which required infinite judgement, taste, and genius, from all these to search out the truth; to make it one consistent flory, divisible into proper parts for finging or rehearsing; and thus to be the first in inventing a new fpecies of poem, of fuch a nature, and fuch an extent, and executed fo as ne er to be equalled.

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