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whom Mr. Savage did not think superior to himself, and therefore he resolved to address
a poem to him.
For this purpose he made choice of a subject, which could regard only persons of the highest rank and highest affluence, and which was therefore proper for a poem intended to procure the patronage of a prince; and having retired for fome time to Richmond, that he might prosecute his design in full tranquillity, without the temptations of pleasure, or the solicitations of creditors, by which his meditations were in equal danger of being disconcerted, he produced a poem On Public Spirit, with regard to Public Works..
degi The plan of this poem is very extensive, and comprifes a multitude of topics, each of which might furnish matter fufficient for a long performance, and of which same have already employed more eminent writers ;- but as he was perhaps not fully acquainted with the whole extent of his own design, and was writing to obtain a fupply of wants too pressing to admit of long or accurate enqui-, ries, he palles negligently over many publick
works, which, even in his own opinion, deserved to be more elaborately treated.
But though he may sometimes disappoint his reader by transient touches upon these subjects, which have often been considered, and therefore naturally raise expectations, he must be allowed amply to compensate his omissions, by expatiating, in the conclusion of his work, upon a kind of beneficence not yet celebrated by any eminent poet, though it now appears more susceptible of embellish ments, more adapted to exalt the ideas, and affect the passions, than many of those which have hitherto been thought most worthy of the ornaments of verfe. The settlement of colonies in uninhabited countries, the establishment of those in security, whose misfortunes have made their own country 110 longer pleasing or safe, the acquisition of property without injury to any, the appropriation of the waste and luxuriant bounties of nature, and the enjoyment of those gifts which heaven has scattered upon regions uncultivated and unoccupied, cannot be considered without giving rise to a great number of pleasing ideas, and bewildering the imagination in de
lightful prospects; and, therefore, whatever speculations they may produce in those who have confined themselves to political studies, naturally fixed the attention, and excited the applause, of a poet. The politician, when he considers men driven into other countries for shelter, and obliged to retire to forests and deserts, and pass their lives and fix their posterity in the remotest corners of the world, to avoid those hardships which they suffer or fear in their native place, may very properly enquire, why the legislature does not provide a remedy for these miseries, rather than encouragé an escape from them. , He
may conclude, that the flight of every honest man is a loss to the community; that those who are unhappy without guilt ought to be relieved ; and the life, which is overburthened by accidental calamities, set at ease by the care of the publick; and that those, who have by misconduct forfeited their claim to favour, ought rather to be made useful to the society which they have injured, than driven from it. But the poet is employed in a more pleasing undertaking than that of proposing laws, which, however just or expedient, will never be made, or endeavouring to reduce to ra
tional schemes of government societies which were formed by chance, and are conducted by the private passions of those who preside in them. He guides the unhappy fugitive from want and persecution, to plenty, quiet, and security, and feats him in scenes of peaceful folitude, and undisturbed repose.
"Savage has not forgotten, amidst the pleafing sentiments which this prospect of retirement suggested to him, to censure those crimes which have been generally committed by the discoverers of new regions, and to expose the enormous wickedness of making war upon barbarous nations because they cannot resist, and of invading countries because they are fruitful; of extending navigation only to propagate vice, and of visiting distant lands ønly to lay them waste. He has afferted the natural equality of mankind, and endeavoured to suppress that pride which inclines men to imagine that right is the consequence of power:
His description of the various miferies which force men to seek for refuge in distant countries, affords another instance of his pro
ficiency in the important and extensive study of human life; and the tenderness - with which he recounts them, another proof of his humanity and benevolence.
It is observable, that the close of this poem discovers a change which experience had made in Mr. Savage's opinions. In a poem written by him in his youth, and published in his Mifcellanies, he declares his contempt of the contracted views and narrow prospects of the middle state of life, and declares his resolution either to tower like the cedar, or be trampled like the fhrub; but in this poem, though addressed to a prince, he mentions this state of life as comprising thofe who ought most to attract reward, those whọ mérit most the confidence of power, and the familiarity of greatness; and, accidentally mentioning this passage to one of his friends, declared, that in his opinion all the virtue of mankind was comprehended in that state.
In defcribing villas and gardens, he did not omit to condemn that abfurd custom which prevails among the English, of permitting servants to receive money from strangers for