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priests ; wło were likewise left from their “ The emperor, having heard this in:ficution to a life of leisure.
“ ftrange narrative, replied pleasantly From the laity, on the other side, who, If at the time when you fought war, from their mean education, wanted all you could not find it, a season is now there requisites, they were in fact rio better coming in which you will find wars than what Dryden calls them, a tribe of “ enough. I therefore give you this adIliachar; a race, from their cradle bred in “. vice; not to place youríelf either in the barbaricy and ignorance.
“ rear of the army, or in the front, but A sample of theic illuftrious laymen may “ to keep among those who support the be found in Anna Comnena's history of her centre; for I have long had knowfather Alexius, who was Grecian emperor ledge of the Turkish method in their in the eleventh century, when the first Crusade arrived at Conftantinople. So This was one of those counts, or barons, promiscuous a rout of rude adventurers the petty tyrants of Western Europe; men, could not fail of giving umbrage to the who, when they were not engaged in geneByzantine court, which was stately and ce ral wars (such as the ravaging of a neighremonious, and conscious withal of its in- bouring kingdom, the maslacring of infi, ternal debility.
dels, heretics, &c.) had no other method After some altercation, the court per- of filling up their leisure, than, through mitted them to pass into Asia through the help of their vassals, by waging war upon Imperial territories, upon their leaders tak one another. ing an oath of fealty to the emperor.
And here the humanity and wisdom of Ewhat happened at the performance of the church cannot enough be admired, this ceremonial, is thus related by the fair when by her authority (which was then historian above mentioned.
mighty) the endeavoured to shorten that " All the commanders being assembled, scene of bloodshed, which she could not " and Godfrey of Bulloign himfalf among totally prohibit. The truce of God (a " the reit, as soon as the oath was finished, name given it purposely to render the mea" one of the counts had the audaciousness sure more folemn) enjoined these ferocious " to seat himself beside the emperor upon beings, under the terrors of excommuni“ his throne. Earl Baldwin, one of their eation, not to fight from Wednesday even" own people, approaching, took the ing to Monday morning, out of reverence " count by the hand, made him rise from to the mysteries accomplished on the other " the throne, and rebuked him for his four days; the ascension on Thursday; the “ insolence.
crucifixion on Friday; the descent to hell “ The count rose, but made no on Saturday; and the resurrection on ply, except it was in his own unknown Sunday. jargon, to mutter abuse upon the em I hope a farther observation will be parperor.
doned, when I add that the fame humanity “ When all things were dispatched, the prevailed during the fourteenth century, “ emperor sent for this man, and demand- and that the terrors of church power were " ed who he was, whence he came, and of then held forth with an intent equally lau" what lineage :-His answer was as fol- dable. A dreadful plague at that period “ lows-I am a genuine Frank, and in the desolated all Europe. The Germans, with « number of their nobility. One thing no better reason than their own lenseless "know, which is, that in a certain port of fuperftition, imputed this calamity to the " the country I came from, and in a place Jews, who then lived among thern in great * where three ways meet, there stands an opulence and splendour. Many thousands " ancient church, where every one who of these unhappy people were inhumanly " has a desire to engage in single comlat, massacred, till the pope benevolentiy in“ baving put himself into fighting order, terfered, and prohibited, by the severelt
comes, and there implores the a listance bulls, so mad and sanguinary a proceed" of the Deity, and then waits in expecta- ing. « tion of some one that will dare attack I could not omit two such falutary exer" him, On this spot I myself waited a tions of church power, as they both occur " long time, expecting and seeking fome within the period of this inquiry. I might "oce that would arrive and fight me. But add a third, I mean the oppoling and en" the man, that would dare this, was no deavouring to check that absurdest of all “ where to be found,
practices, the trial by batile, which Spel
man expressly tells us, that the church in ther cause, I mean their profound ignoall ages condem.cd.
rance Nothing mends the mind more It must be confeited, that the fact just re- that culture; to which these emigrants had lated, concerning the unmannered count, no delire, either from example or eduat the court of Conitantinople, is raiher cation, to lend a patient ear. against the order of Chronology, for it hap We may add a farther cause still, which pened during the first crusades. It ferves, is, that when they had acquired countries however, to thew the manners of the Latin, better than their own, they settled under or Weitern laity, in the beginning of that the same military form through which they holy war. They did not in a succession of had conquered; and were in fact, when fet. years, grow better, but worse.
tled, a fort of army after a campaign, It was a century after, that another cru- quartered upon the wretched remains of the sade, in their march against infidels, sacked ancient inhabitants, by whom they were this very city; depored the then emperor; attended under the different names of serfs, and committed devastations, which no one vassals, villains, &c. would have committed but the most igno It was not likely the ferocity of these rant, as well as cruel barbarians.
conquerors should abate with regard to But a question here occurs, easier to pro- their vassals, whom, as strangers, they were pose than to answer" To what are we to more likely to suspect than to love. « attribute this character of ferocity, wh ch It was not likely it should abate with re. “ seems to have then prevailed through the gard to one another, when the neighbour“ laity of Europe?"
hood of their castles, and the contiguity of Shall we fay it was climate, and the their territories, must have given occasions nature of the country !--These, we must (as we learn from hiftory) for endless alter. confess, have, in some instances, great in- catiɔn. But this we leave to the learned in fluence.
feudal tenures. The Indians, seen a few years since by We thall add to the preceding remarks, Mr. Byron in the southern parts of South one more, somewhat fingular, and yet perAmerica, were brutal and favage to an fectly different; which is, that though the enormous excess. One of them, a tri- darkness in Western Europe, during the vial offence, murdered his own child (an period here mentioned, was (in Scripture infant) by dashing it against the rocks. language) “ a darkness that might be felt,” The Cyclopes, as described by Homer, yet it is surprising, that during a period fo were much of the same fort; each of them obscure, many admirable inventions found gave law to his own family, without regard their way into the world; I mean such as for one another; and besides this, they were clocks, telescopes, paper, gunpowder, the Atheists and Man-eaters.
mariner's needle, printing, and a number May we not fuppofe, that a ftormy fen, here omitted. together with a frozen, barren, and inhof It is surprising too, if we consider the pitable shore, might work on the imagina- importance of these arts, and their extention of these Indians, fo as, by baniihing live utility, that it should be either unknown, all pleasing and benign ideas, to fill them or at least doubtful, by whom they were iuwith habitual gloom, and a propensity to vented. be cruel? --Or might not the tremendous A lively fancy might almost imagine, scenes of Ætna have had a like effect upon that every art, as it was wanted, had the Cyclopes, who lived amid (moke, thun- suddenly started forth, addreliing those derings, eruptions of fire, and earthquakes ? that fought it, as Eneas did his compaIf we may believe Fazelius, who wrote up- nions, on Sicily about two hundred years ago, the inhabitants near Æina were in his time a
-Coram, quem quæritis, adsum. VIRG. similar race.
And yet, fancy apart, of this we may
be If therefore these limited regions had allured, that though the particular inventsuch an effect upon their natives, may not ors may unfortunately be forgotten, the a similar effect be presumed from the vait inventions themselves are clearly referable regions of the North ? may not its cold, to man; to that subtle and active principle, barren, uncomfortable climate, have made human wit, or ingenuity: its numerous tribes equally rude and fa Let me then submit the following quevage? If this be not enough, we may add ano If the human mind be as truly of divine
origin as every other part of the universe ; Virgil goes farther, and tells us, that and if every other part of the universe bear not twelve men of his time (and those too testimony to its author; do not the inven- chosen ones) could even carry the stone tions above mentioned give us reason to which Turnus fung: affert, that God, in the operations of man, Vix illud lecti bis sex cervice subirent, never leaves himself without a witness? Qualia nunc hominum producit corpora tellus : Harris. llle manu raptum trepida torquebat in hoftem.
Æn. xii. 899. $ 215. Oçinions on Paj? Ages and the Pre
jent.- Conclusion arising from the Discut Thus human strength, which in Homer's ficn of tkuje Opinions. Conclusion of the time was lessened to half, in Virgil's time Wbule.
was lefsened to a twelfth. If strength and And now having done with the Middle bulk (as commonly happer s) be proporAgz, we venture to say a word upon the ticned, what pygmies in ftature must the Present.
men of Virgil's time have been, when their Every past age has in its turn been a pre- ftrength, as he informs us, was so far di
minished ! fent age. This indeed is obvious, but this
A man only eight times as is not all; for every patt age, when pre- ftrong (and not, according to the poet, sent, has been the object of abuse. Men
twelve times) must at least have been behave been represented by their contempo
tween five and fix feet higher than they raries not only as bad, but degenerate; as interior to their predeceflors both in morals
But we all know the privilege claimed and bodily powers.
by poets and painters. This is an opinion fo generally receive
Ji is in virtue of this privilege that Ho. ed, that Virgil (in conformity to it) when race, when he mentions the moral degenehe would expreis former times, calls them racies of his contemporaries, afierts that fimply better, as if the term, better, implied
“ their fathers were worse than their grandformer of course.
“ fathers; that they were worse than their
“ fathers; and that their children would be Hic gems antiquum Teucri, pulcherrima proles,
“ worse than they were;” defcribing no Magnanimi heroes, nati melioribus annis.
En. vi. 648.
fewer, after the grandfather, than three fuc
cellions of degeneracy: The fame opinion is afcribed by Homer to old Nestor, when that venerable chief
Ætas parenium, pejor avis, tulit
Nos nequiores, mox daturos (peaks of those heroes whom he had known
Progeniem vitiofiorum. in bis youth. He relates some of their
Hor. Od. L. ii. 6. names. Perithous, Dryas, Cæneus, Thefeus; and some also of their exploits; as
We need only ak, were this a fact, what how they liad extirpated the favage Cen- would the Romans have been, had they deLaurs. He then subjoins.
generated in this proportion for five or fix
generations more? xsiciod ay ởtis,
Yet Juvenal, subsequent to all this, sup. Tot si sir Biçotai EC 57 épix.bvioi, pax forms.
poses a limilar progretion; a progreílion in with these no one
vice and infamy, which was not complete Of earthly race, as men are now, could fight.
till his own times. As these heroes were supposed to exceed
Then truly we learn, it could go no farin 'strength those of the Trojan war, so
ther: were the heroes of that period to exceed Nil erit ulterius, noftris quod moribus addat those that came after. Hence, from the Pofteritas, &c. time of the Trojan war to that of Homer,
Omne in præcipiti vitium fetit, &c. we learn that human trength was decrear
Sat. i. 147, &c. ed by a complete half.
But even Juvenal, it seems, was mistak. Thus the same Homer,
en, bad as we must allow his times to have ----ο δε χειμάδισν λάβε χειρί
been. Several centuries after, without reTιδε.δης, μέτα έργον, δε δύο άνδρε φέρoιεν, gard to Juvenal, the fame doctrine was inOιος τών βροτοί είσ'· ο δέ μιν ρέα σάλλα και οίος. culcated with greater zeal than ever.
When the Weitern empire began to deThen grasp'a Tydides in his hand a stone, cline, and Europe and Africa were ravaged A bulk immense, which not two men could bear, by barbarians, the calamities then happenAs men are now, but he alone with case Hurled at
ing (and formidable they were) naturally
1. A. 271.
11. E. 302.
led men, who felt them, to esteem their “ imported, without our consent, from fo. own age the worst.
reign countries.” The enemies of Christianity (for Pa. Should the fame reasonings be urged ia ganism was not then extinét) absurdly favour of times nearly as remote, and other turned these calamities to the discredit of imputations of evil be brought, which, the Christian religion, and said, the times though well known now, did not then were so unhappy, because the gods were exist, we may still retort thai—“ we are no dishonoured, and the ancient worship neg “ longer now, as they were tien, fubject to lected. Orofius, a Christian, did not deny “ feudal oppression; nor dragged to war, the melancholy facts, but, to obviate an ob « as they were then, by the petty tyrart of jection so dishonourable to the true reli a neighbouring castle ; nor involvei in gion, he endeavours to prove from histo “ scenes of blood, as they were then, and . rians, both facred and profane, that calami “ that for many years, during the uninteties of every sort had existed in every age, “ resting disputes between a Stephen and a as many and as great as those that existed « Maud.” then.
Should the same declaimer pass to a later If Orofius has reasoned right (and his period, and praile, after the lame manner, work is an elaborate one) it follows, that the reign of Plenry the Second, we have the lamentations made then, and made ever then to retort, “that we have now no Bec. since, are no more than natural declama cets.” Should he proceed to Richard tions incidental to man; declamations na the First,“ that we have now no holy wars" turally arising (let him live at any period) -10 John Lackland, and his son Henry, from the superior efficacy of present events “ that we have now no barons wars"upon present sensations.
and with regard to both of them, “ that, There is a praise belonging to the past, though we enjoy at this instant all the becongenial with this censure; a praise form “ nefits of Magna Charta, we have not ed from negatives, and best illustrated by “ been compelled to purchase them at the examples.
price of our blood.” Thus a declaimer might assert, (suppor A feries of convulsions brings us, in a ing he had a wish, by exalting the eleventh few years more, to the wars between the century, to debase the present) that “ in houses of York and Lancaster-thence from “ the time of the Norman conqueror we the fall of the Lancaster family to the ca“ had no routs, no ridottos, no Newmar- lamities of the York family, and its final “ kets, no candidates to bribe, no voters to deitruction in Richard the Third-thence “ be bribed, &c." and string on negatives, to the opprefive period of bis avaricious as long as he thought proper.
successor; and from him to the formidable What then are we to do, when we hear reign of his relentless son, when neither the such panegyric? - Are we to deny the coronet, nor the mitre, nor even the crown, facts That cannot be.- Are we to ad- could protect their wearers; and when (to mit the conclusion--That appears not the amazement of pofterity) those, by whom quite agreeable.--No method is left, but church authority was denied, and those, by to compare evils with evils ; the evils of whom it was maintained, were dragged to1066 with those of 1780; and see whether gether to Smithfield, and burnt at one and the former age had not evils of its own, the same stake. such as the present never experienced, be The reign of his successor was short and cause they do not now exift.
turpid, and soon followed by the gloomy We may allow the evils of the present one of a bigotted woman. day to be real-we may even allow that We stop here, thinking we have instances a much larger number might have been enough. "Those, who hear any portion of added--but then we may alledge evils, by these past times praised for the invidious way of return, felt in thole days feverely, purpose above mentioned, may answer by but now not felt at all,
thus retorting the calamities and crimes We may affert, “ we have not now, as which existed at the time praised, but which « happened then, seen our country con now exist no more. A true estimate can “ quered by foreign invaders, ncr our pro never be formed, but in consequence of
perty taken from us, and distributed such a comparii in; for if we drop the “ among the conquerors ; nor ourselves, laudable, and aliedge only the bad, or drop 6 from freemen, debased into flaves; nor the bad, and alledge only the laudable, there * our rights submitted to unknown laws, is no age, whatever its real character, but
nay be made to pass at pleasure either for to the universe, then they lead to something a good one or a bad one.
worse, for they lead :o Atheiím. The meIf I may be permitted in this place to lancholy and morose character being thus add an observation, it shall be an observa- insensibly formed, morals and piety fink of tion founded upon many years experience. course; for what equals have we to love, I have often heard declamations against the or what superior have we to revere, when present race of men ; declamations against we have no other objects left than those of them, as if they were the worst of animals; hatred or of terror ? treacherous, false, selfish, envious, oppref It should seem then expedient, if we vam five, tyrannical, &c. &c. This (I lay) I lue our better principles, nay, if we value have often heard from grave declaimers, our own happiness, to withstand such dreary and have heard the sentiment delivered with sentiments. It was the advice of a wise a kind of oracular pomp.-Yet I never man—" Say not thou, what is the cause heard any such declaimer say (what would that the former days were better than these? have been sincere at least, if it had been for thou doit noi inquire wisely concern. nothing more) “ I prove my assertion by ing this.” Eccl. vii. 10. " an example, where I cannot ers; I assert Things present make impressions amaza " myself to be the wretch I have been just ingly superior to things remote; so that, in "describing."
objects of every kind,
we are easily miltakSo far from this, it would be perhaps en as to their comparative magnitude. dangerous to ak him, even in a gentle Upon the canvass of the fame picture a whilper" You have been talking, with near fparrow occupies the space of a dirmuch confidence, about certain profligate tant eagle ; a near mole-hill, that of a dirbeings~Are you certain, that you your. tant mountain. In the perpetration of self are not one of the number
crimes there are few persons, I believe, who I hope I may be pardoned for the fol- would not be more hocked at actually lowing anecdote, although compelled, in seeing a single man affafinated (even takrelating it, to make myself a party. ing away the idea of personal danger) than
"Sitting once in my library with a they would be shocked in reading the mas" friend, a worthy but melancholy man, I sacre of Paris. " read him, out of a book, the following The wise man, juft quoted, wishes to savo
us from these errors. He has already in" In our time it may be spoken more formed us—“ The thing that hath been, " truly than of old, that virtue is gone; the is that which shall be ; and there is no new " church is under foot; the clergy is in thing under the fun. Is there any thing
error ; the devil reigneth, &c. &c. My whereof it may be said, See, this is new? "friend interrupted me with a figh, and It hath been already of old time, which was
said, Alas! tow true ! How just a pic before us." He then subjoins the cause "ture of the times !-I asked him, of what of this apparent novelty--things paft, when "times ? Of what times ! replied he with they return, appear new, if they are for
emotion; can you suppose any other but gotten; and things present will appear so, " the present ? 'were any before ever so ihould they too be forgotten, when they re
bad, fo corrupt, fo &c. ?-Forgive me turn. Eccl. i. 9. ii. 16. " (faid I) for flopping you—the times I This forgetfulness of what is fimilar in
am reading of are older than you ima- events which return (for in every return
gine; the fentiment was delivered about ing event such fimilarity exists) is the for" four hundred years ago; its author Sir getfulness of a mind uninstructed and weak;
John Mandeville, who died in 1371." a mind ignorant of that great, that proAs man is by nature a social animal, vidential circulation, which never ceases good humour feems an ingredient highly for a moment through every part of the necessary to his character. It is the fast universe. which gives a seasoning to the feast of life; It is not like that forgetfulness which and which, if it be wanting, surely renders I once remember in a man of letters; the feast incomplete. Many causes con- who when, at the conclusion of a long tribute to impair this amiable quality, and life, he found his memory began to fail, nothing perhaps more than bad opinions faid chearfully — " Now I iall have a of mankind. Bad opinions of mankind « pleasure I could not have before ; t at of naturally lead us to Misanthropy. If these « reading my old books and Ending them end opinions go farther; and are applied v all new.”