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every thing is great and beautiful; but the modern historian gives us a truer, though lefs delightful picture of human affairs; he can willingly lose sight of the generous and amiable hero, and all the brilliant scenes of the battle and the siege, and enter into the more dry, though more useful detail, of political oeconomy; he rather wishes to exhibit political strength than external splendour; the financier and politician are his heroes. He unfolds the secret wheels of government, the intrigues of courts, the artifices of treaties, and all those complications of interest, which arise from a rivalship, and a desire to supplant the neighbouring nations in commerce and manufactures. The views of the actors do not so much arise from their personal character, as the nature of the government under which they live, and the political theories which they embrace. But ancient history displays a quite different scene; we there see human nature undisguised by theory, led by its simple biases, and guided by the natural genius of the hero. In the one a political code predominates and new moulds nature, in the other again, nature predominates, and in some measure forms the political code. To succeed in modern history, the most difficult, the modern historian must pofsefs equally the light of genius and a greater variety of learning; to a knowledge of human characters, he must superadd a knowledge, of national characters; he must sometimes abstract from a political, and sometimes from a natural character, he must have the enthusiasm of nature, and the cool discernment of art. The ancient historian addressed himself chiefly to the man of genius
and taste; but the modern historian, also to the philosopher, and the statesman; the one gives us more pleasure and the other more instruction. In reading ancient history we travel through a country rich with all the elegant embellishments of nature, but modern history is a field, which, though lefs splendid in its prospects, and lefs luxuriant in its growth, is of more uniform and better cultivation, and encumbered with fewer weeds.
THE NECESSITY OF ROGUERY EXEMPLIFIED.
To the Editor of the Bee.
IN the present philosophical age, when one profound discovery succeeds another, and darkness, is as it were, converted into light; by which the old maxim, sanctimoniously revered in the cloudy age of our ancestors, is now discovered to be the effect of prejudice and error: The old adage, that "honesty is the best policy," is now become antiquated; and the present enlightened generation has discovered, policy to be the best honesty, and the best adapted to the age we live in. When we take a view of the world, as it now presents itself, and consider the different professions, and various pursuits of mankind; that their whole aim is to accumulate riches, then we shall be able to conceive the necefsity of roguery. We shall soon perceive that honesty is too illiberal, too scanty, too confined a system, to comprehend all the grand transactions of the world.
Britain would never have taxed America beyond what the could bear, neither would America have thrown off her dependence on Britain, if both had been honest. If a nation was to be so foolishly honest, as to divest a prime minister of his sinecures, and secret-service money, what a strange revolution would it make at the fountain of affairs! no fortunes could be made; himself and family would suffer; and those creatures who depend on his love and favour, would be thrown on the world to beg and to starve. If a physician was to be so honest, as to advise his patients to take air and exercise, in place of his prescriptions, he would soon find, to his great mortification, that he would be obliged to regale himself on a diet of the same. If honesty was to be universally adopted, the honourable profefsion of the law would be totally swallowed up: If mankind were to deal uprightly with each other, and roguer banished the world, it is plain the faculty must cease for ever, because we would have no farther use for. them. Besides, the inferior branches, who depend on perquisites of office, would all be disbanded, without the benefit of a pension. The industrious farmer, who gains his bread by the sweat of hiş brow, dare not be so honest as appear at his landlord's table with a good coat and cravat, through fear of an addition to his rent; and if he was to be sincerely honest, his trade in cattle dealing would unavoidably perish. The merchants, in their several departments, must suffer from the same cause; smuggling. could have no existence were honesty to he persevered in. From this view of the matter, it
appears, that one half of our present professions would be annihilated, and that of starving become a trade in their stead.
It is no wonder, then, to see the bulk of mankind practising roguery, under so many different forms, when we consider the long period in which honesty has been attempted with so little succefs, that we are made to believe, the world judges it repugnant to the nature of man to be strictly so: And that honesty and poverty, are now grown so nearly synonimous, that an honest man is almost afhamed of being rich. If a scheme of universal roguery was to be received, it would have the general tendency to bring all mankind nearly on a level; the present set of rogues would find it difficult to add any more to their finances, because they would have to deal with people like themselves. Besides, when one rogue outwitted another, no honest man could be said to have received an injury, where none but rogues were concerned; and those murmurs and complaints about perfidy and mistrust, would drop into oblivion, when every individual was pre-informed of his danger; and, as the minds of men, are, for the most part, turned towards this system already, the diffi culty of completing it will be but trifling.
This scheme will probably be found fault with by a few antique gentlemen of the present century, who may fhew some reluctance in parting with their old friend honesty; but they will observe the scheme regards only this world, and as they will, in all probability, be but short time in it, they need give themselves very little trouble as to this particular.
I now find myself becoming insensibly prolix, but, let the excellence of my subject plead my excuse.
ON SMOLLET's NOVELS.
To the Editor of the Bee.
FOR the talent of drawing a natural and original character, Dr Smollet, of all English writers, approaches nearest to a resemblance of our inimitable Shakespeare. What can be more chaste, amusing, or interesting, than Random, Trunnion, Hatchway, Lismahago, Pallet, the pindarick physician, Tom Clarke, Farmer Prickle, Strap, Clinker, Pipes, the duke of Newcastle, and Timothy Crabtree ? The last is indeed a close imitation of Sancho Pança, as Morgan is partly borrowed from one of Shakespeare's Welshmen; but still both are the imitations of a great master, not the tame copies of a common artist. Matthew Bramble is a most estimable portrait of a country gentleman; and admirably contrasted with his sister Tabby. This novel was written when its author was declining both in health and fortune; yet he displays all the spirit and vivacity of Roderick Random; and in some pafsages, such as that respecting the Smith's widow, is irresistibly pathetic. All which passes on board the Thunder, is a series of almost unexampled excellence. The night scene in bedlam, in Sir Launcelot Greaves, is drawn with uncommon force of judgement and of fancy. In the same publication, the ruin of captain Clewlin and his