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produces annually the value of its own annual confumption, and its labour fixes and realizes itself in fome vendible commodity to which may be added, that manufactures and merchandize increase the ftock of provifion by enabling one country to procure a greater quantity from another. The political economy of many nations has been more favourable to agriculture than commerce. This is the cafe in China, as it was formerly in Egypt and in Indoftan. The fovereigns of thefe countries have derived their principal revenue from fome fort of land-tax. Among the ancient Greeks and Romans, trade and commerce were difcouraged. All difcouragements of trade are unfriendly to agriculture; becaufe the dearer manufactured produce is, that is the lefs quantity of it can be purchased by a certain quantity of the produce of land, the cheaper or lefs valuable is this latter produce.-On the whole it appears, that all the extraordinary encouragements, or reftraints, propofed either in the commercial or agricultural fyftem, are detrimental, and retard the progrefs of fociety towards wealth and greatnefs; and that the obvious and fimple fyftem of natural liberty, in which every man is left to employ, his capital or induftry as he pleases, is most agreeable to the true principles of political economy.

[To be concluded in another Article.]

ART. IV. Reflections Critical and Moral on the Letters of the late Ear! of Chesterfield. By Thomas Hunter, M. A. Vicar of Weaverham in Chefhire. 8vo. 5 s. Cadell. 1776.

T is no wonder, that the Letters of the late Lord Chef

may

admired, fhould alarm the friends of religion and virtue: nor can we forbear expreffing our concern, that a work, in many refpects fo well calculated to inftruct and amufe, fhould, at the fame time, inculcate principles of fuch pernicious tendency and influence. Had the noble writer directly and formally attacked the religion of his country, its friends and votaries would only have had occafion to regret, that fuch diftinguished and confpicuous talents fhould be fo ill-employed. But, in our opinion, he has proceeded much farther; he has fecretly undermined the foundations on which all virtue, both perfonal and focial, refts; and propagated a fyftem of licentious refinement, which is capable of producing the most extenfive and lasting injury. If thefe Letters fhould be adopted as a code of education, and the youth of the age fhould be formed on the principles which they recommend, we fhall forfeit our national character, and exchange thofe manly, fubftantial, and laudable accomplishments by which Britons have been hitherto diftinguished, for the frivolous manners of PetitsMaitres; and, of what is of infinitely greater importance,

facrifice

facrifice truth and virtue at the fhrine of fluctuating fashion and popular opinion. But we for bear- To cenfure is a dif agreeable part to the candid writer, and reader: To cenfure, where great and confpicuous merit is allowed, wears the appearance of still more malignity: but, to cenfure a writer fo generally celebrated and admired as the Lord Chesterfield, muft prove ftill more offenfive, and, perhaps, more dangerous' to the reputation of the critic, than of the author whom he affects to condemn.'

We fhall, therefore, in the fequel of this Article, give place to our ingenious Affociate in the department of juft criticism. Mr. Hunter introduces himself to our notice with the following apology: Lord Chefterfield's Letters were first taken up as an amufement to deceive the paffing moments. They were, indeed, amufing, but foon appeared alarming. The Reader found his faith, his virtue, his understanding infulted; and the fentiments of the juft and good in all ages and nations of the world, who were favoured with almost any degree of light, of truth, and fcience, oppofed and contradicted by our well-bred and courtly philofopher. The mere Reader was thus led to commence author; and, very freely, to exprefs his indignation and contempt of a writer, who, great and fhining as his abilities were, hath difgraced, by applying them, to poison the morals, to banish the fublimeft virtue, to extinguish the moft falutary truths, and to exterminate the most important interefts and the fincereft happiness of mankind.'

The Reader will confider, that the reflections which occur in this work, are the fentiments which inftantly and naturally prefented themselves to the Author, on an interruptedperufal of the noble Lord's epiftolary correfpondence;' and of courfe he will not expect a regular critique on the obnoxious paffages in his Lordship's Letters: however, no part, that is juftly cenfurable, has been overlooked.

Our Author begins with exhibiting what he calls the fairer fide of Lord Chefterfield's general character;' and we apprehend, that ample juftice is done him in this refpect.

• Lord Chesterfield's ftyle (he fays) is mufic, filling and delighting the car with the moft melting notes, and the sweetest and moft happy cadences: or, his hand may be faid to be that of one of the first mafters in painting, who prefents you with the gayeft fcenery, the lovelieft landfcapes, and the moft fplendid colouring in nature. A brook, however pure and tranfparent, is too diminutive an object to give us a juft resemblance of the Lord Chefterfield's ftyle and manner. We may compare his Lordship's compofition to a stream (were not this, likewife, too trite an image) full, but not redundant'; loud, but not noify; smooth and placid, yet not languid or sluggish;

strong,

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ftrong, but not harfh, diffonant or raging; harmonious in its course, musical in its falls; and, in the whole, feasting the eye, the ear, the fancy, the fenfitive tafte, and all the animal faculties and paffions of the man. Its banks are crowned with all the beauties of fimple nature; or with ornaments formed after the models, or anfwering to our ideas, of perfect nature. We have only to lament, that the fource from whence it flows is tainted, and conveys a fubtle poifon, fatal to the lives of those who indulge, at large, in the tempting ftream.'

Our Author obferves, in another part of his work, if there is a fault in Lord Chesterfield's ftyle, it is, that it is too much style. It has in it more of Art than Nature. Such an uniform conftruction of Verbage, the fame rounded periods, the fame harmonious cadences, fuch a perpetual flow of wit and metaphor, with which his ftyle is not only crouded, but, I had almost faid, furfeited, like too luscious sweets, cloy rather than refresh us; and we are difgufted with a vanity appearing in fo much ornament and brilliancy of diction. Perpetual fmoothness grows infipid: all foftness, without a proper mixture of harsher, of ftronger and bolder notes, affords but a languid pleasure; animates no noble paffion of the foul, nor infpires any heroic or elevated fentiments.

There is a manly and fpirited eloquence, equally removed from the cold correctness of the pedant, from the cant of a languishing Inamorato, and the frippery of modifh complaisance, as from the rudenefs of the boor, and the barbariím of a provincial dialect. This manly eloquence affects the heart more than the ear, the foul more than the fenfe, captivates Nature with a happy violence, and a power only lefs than divine.'

On this head he adds, Thus nature and art, genius, birth and fortune, confpired to form him a pleafing and perfuafive orator; and a model of compofition on prudential, on political, on familiar fubjects. Upon the whole he is a masterly writer and judicious critic; on many fubjects an entertaining, an inftructive, and very valuable author; especially where morality, the interests of fincere virtue, and the principles of true religion are not, immediately, concerned. But ftill he must be confidered as a writer too easy, too smooth, too delicate and elegant to be numbered among the masters of eloquence, or to claim the title and applaufe of pathetic and fublime: he is more a wit than an orator, and has, in his manner, more of the fhepherd's reed, or lover's lute, than the trumpet of the battle and the fhouting. He wants the power to rouse, to awe, to animate and alarm, and resembles more the vernal breeze, or murmuring rill, than the tempeft, the whirlwind, the lightening and thunder of heaven.'

Our

Our Author has introduced many just and respectful remarks on the subjects of Lord Chesterfield's correfpondence, as well as on his ftyle and manner of writing.

He had from experience and reflection, a deep and extenfive knowledge of human nature; particularly of its follies, its weakneffes, and vices; though of its great dignity, its rational powers, its intellectual attainments, its moral perfection and divine capacities he had no experience, and appears to have had no conception. But, on other fubjects, that lie more within his fphere, he fhews great knowledge, and makes not only pertinent and ufeful, but deep and refined obfervations.

In politics, fo far as these were an art not connected with, nor founded in virtue, truth, and confcience, Lord Chefterfield was a great proficient: for he had great masters; not, indeed, a Livy nor a Clarendon, but the Cardinals Richlieu, Mazarine, De Retz, with Machiavel and Tacitus. Thefe all made human nature, its follies, its frailties and falfehood, the chief fubject or inftrument of their operations; and admitted as lawful in the means, whatever was expedient to the ends they propofed.

On other fubjects he is more moral, and therefore more inftructive and convincing. He has fhewn very good judgment in respect to the business and conduct of the world; and fuppofing this to be our all, his Lordship's advice in the acquifition and management of its profits and pleasures is perfectly œconomical and judicious. His prudential maxims, respecting his pupil's future conduct in life, fpeak a difcernment perfectly acquainted with his fubject, and an ardor and intenfenefs that had no other subject or object in view.The rules he gives respecting converfation are perfectly juft and rational.-His obfervations on men and manners fpeak great fagacity; are just and clear, yet profound. They are only unhappily applied, when adduced as reasons to juftify, to countenance or flatter the fashions, the follies, and vices of mankind.His obfervations on books and reading, on the ufe and abufe of time, on the end and advantage of travel-on compofition in general, and the epiftolary in particular, are all perfectly just and truly valuable.

His advice to his fon recommending truth, virtue, honour, and the purity of his moral character, we fhould have valued the more, had we not feen them afterwards explained away by court-cafuiftry, by the documents of politeness, by political lo gic, by an indulgence to pleasure and paffion, to avarice and ambition, which the preceptor elsewhere recommends to his pupil : as the juft contempt which the noble Lord pours upon the infidel tribe among us, had been of more weight, had he been

lets

lefs lavish of his compliments to fome of the most eminent infidel writers.'

We shall not accompany our Author in the parallel which he draws between Lord Chefterfield and Cicero, Pliny, and Seneca, among the ancients, or La Bruyere and the Duke de Rochefoucault, among the moderns; but clofe this part of the picture with the fummary account which he gives of his Lordship, both as to his character and writings.

View then Lord Chesterfield in the fairest point of light, and you admire him as the fine gentleman, eafy, elegant, and polite, profufe of his complacency, blandifhments, the moft winning addrefs and courteous condefcenfion; a fine figure in his perfon; expenfive and fashionable in his drefs; fplendid at his table, but not luxurious; voluptuous, yet not debauched; a libertine with decency; and in the midft of vagrant amours and illicit indulgences, ftill affecting the man of honour and truth; refined, and yet generally just in his taste, proper and elegant in his diction; powerful and perfuafive in his elocution; largely converfant with, and a very good judge both of books and men; a great mafter in the extenfive fcience of politics, yet ftill more diftinguished as a courtier than a ftatefman; fingularly eminent for his addrefs, his movements, his graces, the douceurs, the foftneffes, the placid features, the various airs, that habit of pleafing, that perfection of good breeding, which are natural to the foil, and form both the effence and exterior of a court.

Or in other words; thefe letters, at the first glance, exhibit Lord Chefterfield, and prefent him to the Public as a kind master, an anxious and affectionate parent, an engaging companion, an obliging friend, a polite fcholar, a fine gentleman, a lively wit, an accomplished courtier, a penetrating fitatesman, a complete man of the world, furnished with all the qualities, and adorned with all the graces that might promote his intereft, or favour his ambition; that might render him easy in himself, and agreeable, refpectable, or neceffary to others; the man of fense, the man of virtue, and the man of honour; with genius, without fingularity or affectation; with learning, without pedantry; with place and title, without pomp and pride; equally qualified for bufinefs, or for pleafure; for the cabinet, or the drawing-room; for a fenate, or a private ftation; for a lady's levee, or a congrefs of princes. Such is the portrait of the noble Lord, as we may collect it thrown off in fcattered touches and random ftrokes of his masterly pencil. Innumerable graces enter into the compofition of this effay towards perfection; and we have only to lament that we find them, upon a nearer infpection, fo miferably fhaded and disgraced by the fouleft stains, and the most impure mixtures.'

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