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of science and talents in all ranks of life. He should with this view, observe notices of new books; he ought to read with care works of real merit: but he should not burthen himself with ephemeral products of the press. Periodical works of criticism he should take in to assist him in distinguishing what new publications are worth tasting, chewing, or digesting. It cannot be supposed, that an implicit reliance should be placed on the opinion of reviewers; but their analysis and their extracts furnish means of forming the judgment. By looking over reviews and periodical publications he will in some degree keep up with the current of knowledge. The Edinburgh Review and Nicholson's Journal diffuse monthly a large portion of information, and, what is better, a taste for science through this country. Even the most remote parts of the empire have now, rapid intelligence of all that is done among men of science and literature, in our own metropolis and in all foreign countries. It has been said, that this kind of reading is hurtful, as it gives only superficial information; but if it diffuse extensively a taste for any information, one great point is gained: from the superficies some may be led to the solid substance of knowledge. This kind of reading is utterly improper to teach young people the principles of science; but it is sufficient for the purposes, for which it is here recommended to country gentlemen. Their curiosity will be often excited by ingenious papers in these books; they will have motive and means for pursuing the speculation in the original authors: they can go from the specimen of the mine to the mine itself. Country gentlemen are not however doomed to be mere amateurs ; they enjoy learned leisure, and every means of cultivating any art or science, and of acquiring
an accurate and extensive knowledge on any subject they may think proper to pursue.
Not only with books, but with men distinguished for literature, country gentlemen should endeavour to preserve an
acquaintance. The present habits of society, and the freedom • of intercourse in the republic of letters, are such, that it can
not be difficult to keep up a correspondence with men of letters, and to see them from time to time. A country gentleman should not be a fixture in his own house; he should occasionally visit friends in different parts of the empire, and of Europe at large, that he may change the habitual course of his ideas, and that he may avoid acquiring local prejudices. This will prevent him from becoming antiquated in his manners, or positive in his conversation ; it will keep alive that charity, which a man of sense should cherish, even for the foibles of his fellow-creatures, and for the follies of fashion: he should see them with the smile of a philanthropist, not with the scowl of a misanthrope. During his stay in London, as he must be rather a spectator than an actor, he will enjoy all that is worth seeing or hearing without entering into competition with any of the fine people, who shine in a sphere, where he has no ambition to be distinguished. By this steady uniformity of conduct, and independent, but not unsociable character, he will obtain respect from all, whose opinion is worth his regard, and he will preserve the inestimable liberty of living in the manner he likes best, without abandoning his time and fortune to the disposal of a crowd of idle and selfish acquaintanceselfish; for all, who have had experience of fashionable friends, will be ready to declare, that they are absolutely and invete
rately selfish: that they not only are indifferent as to what becomes of the companions of their pleasures, but that they are wholly unmoved by the ruin of those, who have wasted thousands after thousands for their entertainment. This system of selfishness and this farce of mutual compliment is now so well understood, that in a certain style of society nobody expects sincerity, or any thing like real friendship; yet what numbers are content to live this life of folly, as if it were “ the only life to lead!” King James the First expressed his surprise, that English gentlemen should leave their estates and their homes, where they were so happy, so useful, and so much respected, to come up to London to join the pageant of a court, where they must be comparatively persons of no importance, and where they must every day feel their inferiority and inutility. In these observations there was more of truth and honesty than of that king-craft, on which that monarch usually piqued himself. It is singular, that a sovereign, who was fond of arbitrary power, should in this instance have given advice, which tended to secure the independence and freedom of a large class of his subjects, and, through their means, probably of the whole body of the nation. The policy of Lewis the Fourteenth, and the arbitrary monarchs of France, was to draw round them all the gentry and nobles of the kingdom, to make the luxuries and pleasures of a court and of a capital city necessary to their existence, to inspire them with a taste for expense beyond what their private fortunes could afford, and thus to render them dependent on him for places and pensions to support their extravagance.
May such policy never be pursued, or may it never suc
ceed in our own country! Every generous heart must wish, that the gentry of the British empire may preserve that independence, which has made them the envy of foreigners, and, what is far more desirable, has rendered them honourably and truly happy. What condition can indeed be more desirable than that of a true English country gentleman; a man in the full enjoyment of personal, civil, and intellectual liberty ; with a fortune that commands all the real conveniences and comforts of life, and a mind that despises every vain luxury; free from avarice, ambition, and all the malevolent passions, as free at least as human nature will permit, enjoying in the midst of his own family, friendship, love, and philosophic ease ; yet with sufficient motive for exertion for continual and various useful and agreeable occupations ; employed in educating his children, improving his tenantry, dispensing justice, cultivating science, literature, and literary friendships; performing all his duties, public and private, with knowledge as well as zeal; diffusing a portion of happiness on all within the sphere of his influence; beloved, esteemed, and respected by all-whose love, esteem, and respect he can desire to possess; conscious every day he lives, that he does not live in vain, and grateful to Providence for the felicity he enjoys ?
ON THE PROFESSION OF THE LAW.
IT must be the wish, and probably it is the hope, of every parent, who destines a son for the profession of the law, to see him rise to eminence, make an affluent fortune, and fill some of those high offices, which are the reward of men, who distinguish themselves at the Bar. Success in this profession depends neither on chance nor patronage; neither on birth, nor connexions: an able and assiduous lawyer must be employed, and will rise to notice and reputation, let his original situation in life, his family and friends, be what they may; nor will any the most powerful patronage or connexions persuade the publick to favour and employ him, unless he possesses the knowledge and talents requisite for his profession ; for no man, out of mere compliment, will run the hazard of losing a lawsuit, that involves perhaps his property or his life. The first and the most certain means which parents can take to ensure the success of their sons at the bar must be, to give them a good education. To determine what constitutes a good education for a lawyer, they must begin by forming distinct notions of the qualifications and qualities essential and ornamental to the character of a good and great barrister.