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stituted as to be able to protect individuals, and
preserve good order, even where vices and errors subsist among both the governing, and the governed. An institution which necessarily supposes that virtue must undoubtedly prevail among the one or the other, is by no means calculated for man in an advanced stage of civil society, nor can such a form of government any where subsist, for a continuance of time. Our business, therefore, ought to be, never to hope to extirpate vice-to eradicate error,nor to be able to lop away every species of corruption ; but to correct errors in the best way we can, wherever we discover them,-to lessen the influence of vice, and to moderate the effects of corruption. Had the writer of these essays bestowed as much attention on the influence that the corruption and vices of the lower ranks of the community produce, or would produce, if unrestrained, as he has done with regard to those of the higher orders ; and had he with a patient discrimination suggested the means by which the one and the other might have been effectually moderated, he would have conferred an essential benefit on mankind. As he has omitted to do this, the essays can have no other good tendency, but to rouse the attention of the reader to a few objects that surely highly deserve his notice. These things should have been done, and the others not left undone. It is extremely doubtful however, if much good can result from this kind of partial investigation. To a mind warmed by philanthropy, and illuminated by knowledge, it would seem that an effectual cure should be ready prescribed before the wound is probed; otherwise, it is like opening a sluice, before a channel has been prepared to receive the superabundant water. In that case it must accasion infinite havoc before it can work out a natural channel for itself. But it is an easy matter to point out errors; it requires talents of a very different kind to com.
prehend the means of correcting these. Thinking superficially, and writing boldly, is all that is necessary for the one ; a mind capable of the most vigorous stretch of comprebension is required for the other : a pamphlet may suffice for the one ; but for the other, a work of great extent, and profound investigation, would be required. Need I add, that the first would have many readers, who would think they understood, and therefore who liked it; the last would find few who would read it, and fewer still whe could comprehend it.
NOTICE OF BILLINGS's DISCOVERIES
IN THE NORTHERN ARCHIPELAGO. Our readers are already informed of the general progress made by captain Billings, Bee vol. ix. p. 61. That enterprising navigator, in the course of his voyages among the northern Archipelago, picked up a great many animals, plants, and articles of dress of the natives, which he sent in several boxes to the empress. Mr Pallas had not had leisure at the time our information left Russia, to examine the animals; but he had distinguished among the plants, several new kinds of sopboro, croton, gnapbalium, andromeda, potentilla, artemisia, and rbododendron ;-a black lily, whose roots are tuberculose, and serve as food to the natives;-a new perennial gramina, whose stalk is very large, and contains a great quantity of grain proper for the nourishment of man ;-several legumina, likewise fit for food,-a kind of fir,-a species of sorbus, -and a dwarf willow. These trees, which do not rise above three feet high, are the only ones which grow in the isles Kourites and Alcontes, where they found the Alpine plants of Kamschatka and Siberia. It is much to be regretted, that captain Billings could not send seeds of these plants, as he visited these islands, before they had attained maturity.
Notes to correspondents deferred.
CONCERNING THE INFLUENCE OF TASTE
HAPPINESS AND EORY
Concluded from p. 101. HAVING considered how taste promotes the happiness ef individuals, of families, and of society, I am to conclude the whole of my discourse concerning this important subject, by pointing out the effects of its infiuence upon the prosperity and happiness of the public at large.
Taste, (says the excellent Montesquieu,) in the most general definition of it, without considering whether good or bad, just or not just, is “ that which attaches us to a thing by sentiment.”* In the former part of this slight essay I have endeavoured to show how the principles of taste are evolved in the pursuits and habits of those who have been fortunately emancipated from the grovelling desire of sensual pleasure, and how it operates in the infinite extent of rational curiosity, where one clear idea leads
* Montesquieu on taste, a fragment. See Dodsley's annual register, velume i. p '311.
to the pursuit of another, in a chain whose beginning is no where, and whose links are every where, after the nature of that infinite and perfect Being in whom we live, and move, and have our existence, and whom we can only resemble when we raise ourselves above the range of brutal enjoyment.
2dly, In the pleasure derived from the contemplation of order; and of order amid variety. 3dly, In the pleasure arising from symmetry or of fitness and utility. 4thly, In the pleasure that arises from contrast. Sthly, From surprise, terminating in a scientific acquaintance with the cause from whence it arose. 6thly, In delicacy of sensation which enables us to feast on the graces that are evanescent or impalpable to the eye and apprehension of the sensualist. And finally, in the complete establishment of the habit of intellectual desire uncontrouled by vulgar appetite, or enervated by idleness and sloth.
Now, it is evident, that as a nation, or what we call, in the most extensive acceptation of the word, the public, is no more than the aggregate of individuals, families, and communities, so whatever can render the parts more perfect, must tend to the perfection and happiness of the whole.
But the subject is so delightful and important, that I shall be easily forgiven when I shall have traced the more immediate effects that must be produced upon the active powers of government, and upon a people at large, by the dissemination of that taste which is the subject of my present discourse.
It was undoubtedly to the dissemination of taste
among the richer and higher ranks of men in Greece and Italy, that mankind were indebted for any relaxation of that shocking and barbarous disparity which took place among their feudal and military instituti ons, where the prince and the soldier were every thing, and the people nothing.
It was to the same existing causes, encreased by the intervention of the printing press and the engraver, that France, under a similar government, from the reign of Henry II. to the death of Lewis xiv. enjoyed the small degree of happiness that fell to its share, during those times of trouble, or of monarchical vanity and arnbition ;, and to the same causes France and the world is indebted for the preeminence that good sense.has obtained over the enslaving maxims of an all-grasping church or turbulent nobility
By this very taste, or power, or sentiment, operating extensively through the channels of literature, mankind are now satisfied that the happiness of the people ought to be the supreme law, and the rule: of all government, as well as its final object in its administration.
I know very well that the extensive dissemination of taste and sentiment among the lower ranks of men, is scouted by the great and opulent; and by a monstrous delusion is not approved of by some, who, in the odour of diabolical antiquarianism, a. dore the rust of chains that are ancient, and are careless of those things that are of universal utility, and general concern, and competent to all men.
But a light has begun now to shine out of darknessy, which, though it inakes the eyes of the darkling to