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Grant this Argument all it can prove, and what is the Conclusion ?That to relieve the French is a good Action, but that a better may be conceived: This is all the Result, and this All is very little. To do the best can seldom be the Lot of Man; it is sufficient if, when Opportunities are presented, he is ready to do Good. How little Virtue could be practised, if Beneficence were to wait always for the most proper Objects, and the noblest Occasions ; Occasions that may never happen, and Objects that may never be found?
It is far from certain, that a single Englishman will suffer by the Charity to the French. New Scenes of Misery make new Impreffions; and much of the Charity which produced these Donations, may be supposed to have been generated by a Species of Calamity never known among us before. Some imagine that the Laws have provided all necessary Relief in common Cases, and remit the Poor to the Care of the Public ; some have been deceived by fictitious Misery, and are afraid of encouraging Imposture; many have observed Want to be the Effect of Vice, and consider casual Almsgivers as Patrons of Idleness. But all these Difficulties vanish in the
present Cafe: We know that for the Prisoners of War there is no legal Provision; we see their Distress, and are certain of its Cause; we know that they are poor and naked, and poor and naked without a Crime.
But it is not necessary to make any Concessions. The Opponents of this Charity must allow it to be good, and will not easily prove it not to be the best. That Charity is best, of which the Consequences are most extensive: The Relief of Enemies has a Tendency to unite Mankind in fraternal Affection ; to foften the Acrimony of adverse Nations, and dispose them to Peace and Amity : In the mean Time, it alleviates Captivity, and takes away something from
the Miseries of War. The Rage of War, however mitigated, will always fill the World with Calamity and Horror : Let it not then be unnecessarily extended ; let Animosity and Hostility cease together; and no Man be longer deemed an Enemy, than while his Sword is drawn against us.
The Effects of these Contributions may, perhaps, reach still further. Truth is best supported by Virtue: We may hope from those who feel or who fee our Charity, that they shall no longer detest as Heresy that Religion, which makes its Profeffors the Followers of Him, who has commanded us to do good
to them that hate us.'
THOUGHTS on AGRICULTURE;
With an Account of the Honour that is due to an
was the common Parent of Traffick; for the Opulence of Mankind then consisted in Cattle, and the Product of Tillage ; which are now very essential for the Promotion of Trade in general, but more particularly so to such Nations as are most abundant in Cattle, Corn, and Fruits. The Labour of the Farmer gives Employment to the Manufacturer, and yields a Support for the other parts of a Community : It is now the Spring which sets the whole grand Machine of Commerce in Motion ; and the Sail could not be spread without the Afgiftance of the Plough. But, though the Farmers are of such Utility in a State, we find them in general too much disregarded among the politer Kind of People in the present Age : While we cannot help observing the Honour that Antiquity has always paid to the Profession of the Husbandman: Which naVOL. II.
turally turally leads us into some Reflections upon that Oce cafion.
Though Mines of Gold and Silver should be exhausted, and the Species made of them loft; though Diamonds and Pearls should remain concealed in the Bowels of the Earth, and the Womb of the Sea ; though Commerce with Strangers be prohibited ; though all Arts, which have no other Object than Splendor and Embellishment, should be abolished; yet, the Fertility of the Earth alone would afford an abundant Supply for the Occafions of an industrious People, by furnishing Subsistence for them, and such Armies as should be mustered in their Defence. We, therefore, ought not to be furprized, that Agriculture was in so much Honour among the Ancients : For it ought rather to seem wonderful that it should ever cease to be fo, and that the most neceffary and most indispensible of all Professions should have fallen into any Contempt.
Agriculture was in no Part of the World in higher Conlideration than Egypt, where it was the particular Object of Government and Policy: Nor was any Country ever better peopled, richer, or more powerful. The Satrapa, among the Asyrians and Persians, were rewarded, if the Lands in their Governments were well cultivated; but were punished, if that part of their Duty was neglected. Africa abounded in Corn ; but the most famous Countries were Thrace, Sardinia, and Sicily.
Cato, the Censor, has justly called Sicily the Magazine and nursing Mother of the Roman People, who were supplied from thence with almost all their Çorn, both for the Use of the City, and the Subfiftence of her Armies : Though we also find in Livy, that the Romans received no inconsiderable Quantities of Corn from Sardinia. But, when Rome had made herself Mistress of Carthage and Alexandria, Africa and Egypt became her Store-houses : For
those Cities fent such numerous Fleets
Year, freighted with Corn to Rome, that Alexandria alone annually supplied twenty Millions of Bushels : And, when the Harvest happened to fail in one of these Provinces, the other came in to its Aid, and fupported the Metropolis of the World ; which, without this Supply, would have been in Danger of perishing by Famine. Rome actually saw herself reduced to this Condition under Auguftus ; for there remained only three Days Provision of Corn in the City: And that Prince was so full of Tenderness for the People, that he had resolved to poison himfelf, if the expected Fleets did not arrive before the Expiration of that Time ; but they came ; and the Preservation of the Romans was attributed to the good Fortune of their Emperor : But wise Precautions were taken to avoid the like Danger for the future.
When the Seat of Empire was transplanted to Constantinople, that City was supplied in the same Manner: And when the Emperor Septimus Severus died, there was Corn in the publick Magazines for seven Years, expending daily 75,000 Bushels in Bread, for 600,000 Men.
The Ancients were no less industrious in the Cultivation of the Vine than in that of Corn, though they applied themselves to it later : For Noah planted it by Order, and discovered the Use that might be made of the Fruit, by pressing out, and preserving the Juice. The Vine was carried by the Offspring of Noah into the several Countries of the World: But Asia was the first to experience the Sweets of this Gift ; from whence it was imparted to Europe and Africa. Greece and Italy, which were diftinguished in so many other Respects, were particuJarly so by the Excellency of their Wines. Greece was most celebrated for the Wines of Cyprus, Lesbos, and Chio ; the former of which is in great Esteem at prefent: Though the Cultivation of the Vine has