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ance with the world, the reform in it's social manners and habits has been gradual and encreasing. The feudal haughtiness of our nobility has totally disappeared, and, in place of a proud distant reserve, a pleasing suavity and companionable ease have almost universally obtained amongst the higher orders : The pedantry of office is gone, and even the animosity of party is fo far in the wain, that it serves rather to whet our wits than our swords against each other: The agitation of political opinions is no longer a subject fatal to the peace of the table, but takes it's turn with other topics, without any breach of good manners or good fellowship
It were too much to say that there are no general causes still subsisting, which annoy our social comforts, and difgrace our tempers ; they are still too many, and it is amongst the duties of an Observer to set a mark upon them, though by so doing I may run into repetition, for I am not conscious of having any thing to say upon the subject, which I have not said before ; but if a beggar, who asks charity, because of his importunity thail at length be relieved, an
author perhaps, who enforces his advice, shall in the end be listened to.
I must therefore again and again insist upon it, that there are two sides to every argument, and that it is the natural and unalienable right of man'to be heard in support of his opinion, he having first lent a patient ear to the speaker, who maintains sentiments which oppose that opinion : I do humbly apprehend that an overbearing voice and noisy volubility of tongue, are proofs of a very underbred fellow, and it is with regret I see society too frequently disturbed in it's most delectable enjoyments by this odious character: I do not see that any man hath a right by obligation or otherwise, to lay me under a necessity of thinking exactly as he thinks : Though I admit that from the fullness of the heart the tongue speaketh, I do not admit any superior pretensions it hath to be Sir. Oracle from the fullness of the pocket. In the name of freedom, what claim hath any man to be the tyrant of the table? As well he may avail himself of the greater force of his fifts as of his lungs. Dath sense confift in sound, or is truth only to be measured by the noise it makes? Can it be a disgrace
to be convinced, or doth any one lose by the exchange, who resigns his own opinion for a better? When I reflect upon the advantages of our public schools, where puerile tempers are corrected by collision; upon the mathematical studies, and scholastic exercises of our universities, I am no less grieved than astonished to discover fo few froficients in well-mannered controversy, so very few, who seem to make truth the object of their investigation, or will spare a few patient moments from the eternal repe- . tition of their own deafening jargon to the temperate reply of men, probably better qualified to speak than themselves.
There is another grievance not unfrequent though inferior to this abovementioned, which proceeds jointly from the mixt nature of society, and the ebullitions of freedom in this happy country, I mean that roar of mirth and uncontrouled flow of spirits, which hath more vulgarity in it than ease, more noise than gaiety : The stream of elegant festivity will never overflow it's banks; the delicacy of sex, the
i dignity of rank, and the decorum of certain professions, should never be so overlooked, as to alarm the feelings of any person pre
fent, interested for their preservation. When the softer sex entrust themselves to our society, we should never forget the tender refpect due to them even in our gayest hours: When the higher orders by descending, and the lower by ascending out of their sphere, meet upon the level of good fellowship, let not our superiors be revolted by a rusticity however jovial, nor driven back into their fastnesses by our overstepping the partition line, and making faucy inroads into their proper quarters. Who questions a minister about news or politics ? who talks ribaldry before a bishop? once in seven years is often enough for the levelling familiarity of electioneering manners.
There is another remark, which I cannot excuse myself from making, if it were only for the sake of those luckless beings, who being born with duller faculties, or stampt by the hand of nature with oddities either of humour, or of person, seem to be set up in fociety as butts for the arrows of raillery and ridicule : If the object, thus inade the victim of the company, feels the shaft, who but must suffer with him ? If he feels it not, we blush for human nature, whose dignity is facrificed in his person ; and as for
the profest buffoon, I take him to have as little pretensions to true honour, as a punfter has to true wit. There is scope enough for all the eccentricities of character without turning cruelty into sport ; let satire take it's share, but let vice only shrink before it ; let it silence the tongue that wantonly violates truth, or defames reputation ; let it batter the insulting towers of pride, but let the air-built castles of vanity, much more the humble roof of the indigent and infirm, never provoke it's spleen.
It happened to me not long ago to fall into company with some very respectable persons, chiefly of the mercantile order, where a country gentleman, who was a stranger to most of the party, took upon hiin to entertain the company, with a tedious string of stories of no sort of importance to any soul present, and all tending to difplay his own consequence, fortune and independance. Such conversation was ill calculated for the company present, the majority of whom had I dare fay been the founders of their own fortunes, and I should doubt if there was any quarter of the globe accessible to commerce, which had not been