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has it not in his power to act, can only call out, alas! alas!
England has, for a considerable period, excelled other nations in the mechanical arts, and in many branches of science, one of the consequences of which is, that, standing foremost on the list, the English consider themselves in want of no further improvement. Such a feeling usually prevails in all the nations that stand first; and such a feeling is one of the principal causes of the revolutions of nations: it makes a nation become stationary till those who were behind it get to be first. In the energy of the mind, or in its apathy, the exertions of men originate; and the energy or apathy are regulated by circumstances, and lay the foundation for perpetual changes. That moral propensities should counteract and regulate physical power and means, may appear strange, but nothing is more certain, nor are any operations more constant and perpetual than those that depend on this very controuling power of the moral over the physical world. So great are the advantages of wealth and power, that, were there not a counteracting principle, they would never be wrested from those in whose possession they once were; but so different is the case, that they are perpetually changing masters: the energy of those who want, triumphs over the advantages enjoyed by those who have property amongst individuals and the same is the case amongst nations. To this is to be attributed the conduct of those who are at the head of the naval départment, who, feeling that the British navy is superior to all others, have, in the words of the brave Admiral Duncan during the mutiny, exclaimed that " cup has overflowed with abundance, and we have become wanton."
The whole blame, however, is not to be laid on Lord Melville; his colleagues do not throw it on
It is this becomin wanton, despising the advantages we possess, and letting others get before us, that we have to dread, and if we have sense enough to profit by the humiliating lesson given us by America, we shall have reason to rejoice that she has given us such a lesson.
Perhaps one of the best modes of counteracting the natural progress of the mind in listening to propensities, is to be guided by maxims. The Romans combated the effects of luxury and greatness by adhering to maxims for a long period: at last they forgot the maxims; the virtuous republic became a voluptuous empire, and froin a voluptuous nobility, the chiefs of that empire were soon reduced to the state of forlorn exiles, driven from their country, and forced to take refuge out of the reach of barbarians, whom they had despised.
Mr. Burke, one of the most profound inquirers in our days, ob serves, that he will not take upon him to say that states and empires have the same gradual rise, vigour, and decay, with the individuals of which they are composed; but that the bistory of mankind shews that they all bave their periods of rise, exaltation, and decline. Now the case seeins to be, that, with the individual, the progress is fixed by the ordinary term of human life; and though it may extend a little longer, or be cut off something shorter, its limits are nearly fixed by the physical nature of man; whereas, nations composed of individuals constantly renovating, are perpetual, as existences, but subject to rise, vigour, and decline, as to wealth, power, and pros
him; and therefore it probably belongs to the cabinet ministers conjointly. If it were not so they would have said it, or at least they ought to have done so.
perity: but this progress is lengthened or shortened, not as in individuals, by physical strength, but by the conduct and exertion of those persons of whom it is composed; and though there is a tendency, there seems to be no necessity for that decline that has hitherto always taken place, and transferred wealth and power from the borders of the Nile and the Euphrates, to the Tyber; from the Tyber to the Tagus, the Scheldt, and the Helder; and from thence to the Thames: a tendency to change which, if not counteracted, may make a further transfer of wealth and power, to the Chesapeak and Delaware, and, in time, to the uninhabited plains on the Ohio and the Mississippi. Such revolutions originate, then, not in any necessary order of things, but from men permitting their moral conduct to be influenced by their relative situations: and one of the first causes of decline is, when the rulers of a nation cease to value or reward talents and abilities. The second is, when the nations not yet risen so high, with far inferior means, begin to triumph over that which neglects to employ its ineans.
It is more than probable that this warning will share the fate of the prophecies of Cassandra; but let those who are capable of appreciating circumstances, reflect, and they will find, that the triumph of the Lilliputian navy of America over ours, is a serious pccurrence, and ought to draw from us serious reflections.
One good will at all events arise from this unfortunate management: the friends of Britain that are in America, as well as the rest of the world, will see that Britain has none of that haughty pride that generally accompanies power; and that it has not any rancour towards the people of the United States of America.
In the portrait of the noble father was given an anecdote of Lord Milton, from which his character is so well known, that it needs little more.
When a man of fortune has, at an early age, charity for the poor and wretched, and sufficient attention to stretch a point to relieve their wants, he must be a good man. With all the talents that a man can possess, if he has not a good heart, he can never be a good man, but he may,
There are also many men who are ostentatious in their acts of charity; such acts are suspicious: like true piety, true charity, though not
if artful, pass
ashamed, is modest and secret. Neither is it careless, giving without taking notice what is given; for such charity, though worthy of praise, is accompanied with a feeling of pride. The charity that deserves to be most admired is, that which inquires into the distress of others, and relieves them with a due regard to circumstances, proceeding on the feeling for the person relieved, without
other feeling at the moment.
That a feeling of self-approbation must attend a good action is natural, indeed it cannot be otherwise, and that is the reward that attends such in this world.
Perhaps the wits of the world will call this prosing, (a very elegant, and a very significant sort of laconic expression for being serious), or perhaps they may say that it is like a methodist; and indeed it must be admitted, and lamented when so admitted, that such actions and feelings as are alluded to, are in general totally misplaced in the portrait of a young nobleman.
The present race of nobility are mightily improved (in appearance at least) since they assumed the manners of coachmen, and became the friends and companions of prize-fighters: and probably if they