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that to whatever studies they applied their minds, enjoying so rich a vein of natural endowments, they excelled in wit and ingenuity any other of the western nations ;”. or Warrington, when he laments the natural levity of the Welsh ? and traces the ruin of their national independence and existence to precipitate measures repugnant to every principle of sound policy, to a weak credulity, and a temper hasty and impetuous, the leading qualities of the Britons ? * The genius, the abilities of a nation are formed, as well as their moral characters or dispositions, by the circumstances in which they are placed. The rural and pastoral life of the Welsh, the scenery of their country, their continual wars with strangers, all these circumstances contributed to arouse every feeling of the heart, and to exercise and animate the passions : Hence the fenfibility of the Welsh to music, to poetry, to devotion, to the ties of consanguinity and friendship. But to extended enterprize, invention, and improvement of every kind, to projects of commerce, to invention in arts and sciences, that noble freedom and expanfion of soul is necessary, which result only from independence of government. It is not often that we meet with a sublime and daring genius in a nation depressed and overawed by a more powerful and hoftile neighbour. A nation may be circumferibed in territory and few in numbers, yet it may rise to all that is noble in human nature, if it be, in these respects, on an equal footing with its neighbours. Thus we meet with excellence of every kind in the small
, republies of Greece. But we meet with nothing great in Portugal fince it fell into a dependence on Spain; or, which is the same thing, into dependence on Great-Britain for protection against Spain. Ireland has given birth to men that have become warriors, and philosophers, and politicians, under the auspices, as it were, of England, France, and Spain: but it is only in the present period, when the is possessed of independence, that she begins to rear great men as well as to breed them.-Wales has never produced many men distinguished, either by arts or arms. A Lord Herbert of Cherburry might be an exception in former times, as a Price is in the present, to this general observation. But certain it is, that the necessity the Welsh were under of struggling pro aris et focis, while they existed as an independent nation, prevented them from attaining to any eminence either in litera ture or philosophy, or the inferior pursuits of arms, commerce, and mechanical arts. Nor have they, as yet, since their in
See this hiftory paffim, particularly page 41.
corporation with England, brought forth any fruits worthy of the tree into which they have been ingrafted. This is certainly a fact; but our author, either in complaisance to the Welsh nation, or from inattention, has neglected to mention this fact, or to enquire into its cause.
It was anciently the custom of European kings and conquerors to make a partition of their dominions among their children, or other descendants and favourites. The great Charlemagne made a partition of his extensive empire. The great Roderic therefore might, without forfeiting all title to that appellation, make a division of his dominions. This division he in fact made; and it was, as our author observes, “ the source of civil dissensions and natural weakness, and was soon the cause of a decline in patriotism, and of a striking barbarity in manners; a series of evils, which at length occafioned the ruin of the state, and scarcely ended with the conquest of the Welsh, and the loss of their political existence.”
[ To be continued. ]
ART. II. The Night Cap. By Mr. Mercier, 2 vols. 12mo.
6s. Hookham, 1785. London. IT T is perhaps contrary to rule to give a diffufive account of
a translation, after having reviewed the original. The following article is however from a different member of our corps; and it may perhaps be entertaining to the reader, to compare sentiments formed independently of each other, respecting the work of so celebrated an author.
The merits of Mr. Mercier are generally known. The bold delineator of manners and police, who has ventured to unfold the miseries of despotism in the very centre of their reign, and to point out with equal spirit and energy the unequivocal bleffings of freedom, is entitled to the patronage and regard of mankind. The volumes before us bear evident marks of the same hand. Under a title fingular and ludicrous, they present us with the speculations of their author upon a thousand subjects. His miscellany is formed upon the most comprehenfive plan. Pastorals, fables, visions, tales, speculations and criticism, constitute fome part of the variety of this anomalous publication. Willing to enable the reader to judge for himself of the entertainment he will derive from its perufal, we will present him with a few examples. The panegyric made by
our author, upon the country life, affords us as unequivocal marks of the sensibility of his mind, as the descriptive powers of his imagination.
• It is only the powerful and secret charm of the country, which has a conftant and universal influence over the heart of man ;
the increase of luxury vainly attempts
to usurp this
toilfome preparatives, brilliant, yet dull, imperfect in their consequences, they leave a void behind them, a something to be wilhed for, after the combined endeavours of artists. The country, plain, but magnificent, has more inexhaustible attractions ; its smiling features are reproduced as we view them; its advantages multiplying according to the know. ledge we acquire of them; and the mind, whose expectations were not fatisfied with the pomp of courts, the bustle of entertainments and artificial decorations, deliciously reposes in the beautiful and folitary retreats of nature.
• It is there man can filently contemplate on himself, enjoy himself, set a true value on his time and existence, fill up days that would be fpent elsewhere with foolish prodigality. Disburdened of the troublefome weight of business, removed from the constraint and solicitude of focieties, he is no longer troubled with the inward disquietude which preys on ambition, pursuing that phantom foriune in the putrid air of cities; he experiences the serenity, the tranquil, solid repose, the offspring of free nature. It is by this he finds affluence in ease, wis dom in moderation, the blessings of time in his occupation, and, in a word, enjoyment without subsequent repentance.
• Unhappy is the man who, corrupted by the hurry of cities, thinks the country doll and filent! certainly the feeds of good are smothered in his breast. The country speaks eloquently to the sound mind; it. appears animated to the feeling heart; it preserves peace of mind, and even reitores it when disturbed; it diffipates mean and haughty passions, the torments of men in the bustle of life, and calms the violent convulsions concupiscence inspires. The country is the parent of virtuous sentiments; and, independent of the natural advantages it procures, such as wholesome food, tranquillity, pure air, which restore or im
has many remarkable moral advantages ; the more Thameful vices avoid of themselves that asylum where the wcods, the graffy verdure, the fields, the blooming hedges, seem formed for simple taste and peaceful virtue.
• The country! the poets have sung it, the painters have transmitted it on canvas, philosophers have extolled it! more happy the man who, enamoured with its attractions, contemplates it, knows how to enjoy its various treasures, and preserve his morals pure, refpiring the balfamic fragrant air, and every morning treading the odoriferous plants.
• Who has not felt the necessity of visiting the country, at least on the return of fine weather, when the tender green turf, the early melody of birds, the active rays of the sun haften vegetation, and call upon the most indifferent being to admire the hidden hand that spreads the tutted grass, unfolds the Thoots, furnishes the trees with buds impatient
to be opened, and which will foon adorn the leaves with fruit and flowers
Enchanting picture ! O spectacle, more interesting than all which art can offer ! How pleasing it is to gather the first banquet of violets by the side of a serpentine rivulet, gently watering the mossy ground; and to have the foot moistened with the fresh and sparkling dew at the dawn of a fine day in spring, and the series of fine days that are to come to perpetuate the innocent pleasures of man!
• It is in the country that writers acquire more elevated and sublime ideas, become more energetic and moving; it is there that generous works are compofed, that is to say, those relative to the plan of public happiness. In the country our thoughts are necessarily led to the largest portion of the human race; they are visible, they are prefent before our eyes, bending under the yoke, and labouring at the first works of necessity, thole primitive works, which ever awaken and recal simple ideas, productive of great ones ; whilft in cities the arts, perhaps too refined in our time, pursue the niceties of form, to attract and please, for a moment, the sorrowful eye of the wealthy.
• In populous cities they write voluptuous romances, light elegant verses, and comedies in an affected stile ; but the Natural History, the Hiftory of the Commerce of both tbe Indies, and all those grand compofitions, which do honour to the present age, seem to be produced under the happy influence of hamlets, and the waving fhade of forests.
• Could cities furnish, in their narrow bounds, those ravishing scenes which are fo bountiful to the poet's pen, and more fo to the philosopher's meditations, when the ruddy clouds melt and embrace the lofty circular heads of the talleft trees, when the sparkling rays display, by their prodigious refrangibility, all the dazzling pomp of the sun; when the light, increasing its ardent fire, swiftly transforís one landscape into another, by the ardent vigour of its tints ; when meadows, in those tapid moments, are metamorphosed even to the proprietor's eye, who Atands astonished, and scarcely recognises the place the soft mild ray of dawn enlightened ; fo forcibly is the magic of those striking lively, colours, such a magnificent and no less admirable diversity does it imprint on the same objects!
• And at night, when the tranquil lake reflects the filver face of the moon and brilliant stars; when the light clouds that furround it pass like moving images, on the clear surface of the waters beneath the contemplator's feet; when he hears the lengthened cry of the night bird;
- then die sees the smooth but trembling lake reproduce the fresh landscape around him ; where could he meet such complete repose, such soft tranquillity? where can he so well feel the voluptuous sentiment of an indefinite reverie ?
• In the morning, when the atmosphere is clear, when the filver clouds are scattered over the horizon, like woolly fleeces, he sees the labourer already in the field pressing the plough share, breaking the clod, and marking out the deep and straight furrow from whence the golden harvest is to rise ; he smiles with joy at the seeds of fertility, confided to the maternal bofom of the earth.
« Tell the blind insensate, that this husbandman, by daily renewing his labour, gains the noblest conquests over nature, aud contributes more than any other to the splendour, prosperity, vigour, and life of the state, by producing the principal objects of necessity ! and yet he is depressed by idle and infolent arrogance ; his laborious hands, that steer the plough and wield the nourishing spade, are debased and banished to the very lowest class of society. Were it not for those callous hands, dearth, poverty, famine, and forrow, would devour the great in their fumptuous palaces. But such is the incredible injuftice, such the absurdity of man, that to be useful to him is to be unworthy in his fight,
• Manual labour, the first exercise of man, the sacred employment of the ancient patriarchs, ordained by the Almighty himself; labour, the only power on earth that can vivify and put idle matter in motion, is looked upon as a disgraceful employment in our degenerate days ; while the unjust financier, the cruel foldier, the indolent citizen, dares to take precedency over the man who, by giving the first motion to the sap, has more just observations in his head, and more hospitable virtues, in his heart, than those who view him with disdain : a disdain which can only here be repaid with contempt; for that kind of disdain ought to be considered with the greatest justice, as the last kage of human frenzy. The husbandman, who affects only an equality, does not go to the door of a courtier to beg an employment, nor expose himself to the insulting ridicule of a clerk in office, the insidious dispenser of favours he has purchased by the meanest acts; he knows the earth will supply his wants, and he is attached to her all-nourishing bosom.
-Alas! what will the vain and haughty beings, who, decorated with the livery of luxury, and are its perpetual flaves, set up in opposition! do they dare think themselves superior to him: what, alas ! will they set up? Tog well we learn from experience, idleness, vice, and crimes,
• Philosophical writers have never been guilty of arrogant disdain, the crime of opulence; they have ail unanimously exclaimed, immortal bonour to facred agriculture! They have always revered it in their writings; the plough has been a hallowed object with them. They have celebrated princes that handled it with pomp and folemnity on certain annual feftivals. Virgil, even in the court of Augustus, has described the harrow, the mattock, the spade, the rake, the plough which lays the earth equally on both sides; and all the writers, whoir I stile munificent, have preferred the implements of ruftic fimplicity to all the ornaments of luxury and favour, that the corruption of morals and the arts could offer,
• Those judicious interpreters of the public voice will be held in greater esteem as the world becomes more enlightened ; they had the courage to celebrate, with all their powers, the labours of agriculture ; they who have restored dignity to the grey-headed man, who during fixty years procured raiment and subhitence to his equals, and, as an additional benefit, has given his country his own children for hardy, and tractable soldiers --Must not this countryman appear to be, in the view of a philosopher, after so many sacrifices, labours and