« السابقةمتابعة »
ships, and have distressed some private families, but have very little weakened the power of France. The detention of their seamen makes it indeed less easy
for them to fit out their navy; but this deficiency will be easily supplied by the alacrity of the nation, which is always eager for war.
It is unpleasing to represent our affairs to our own disadvantage; yet it is necessary to shew the evils which we desire to be removed; and, there fore, some account may very properly be given of the measures which have given them their present superiority.
They are said to be supplied from France with better governours than our colonies have the fate to obtain from England. A French governour is seldom chosen for any other reason than his qualifications for his trust. To be a bankrupt at home, or to be so infamously vicious that he cannot be decently protected in his own country, seldom recommends any man to the government of a French colony. Their officers are commonly skilful either in war or commerce, and are taught to have no expectation of honour or preferment, but from the. justice and vigour of their administration.
Their great security is the friendship of the natives, and to this advantage they have certainly an indubitable right; because it is the consequence of their virtue. It is ridiculous to imagine, that the friendship of nations, whether civil or barbarous, can be gained and kept but by kind treatment; and surely they who intrude, uncalled, upon the country of a distant people, ought to consider the natives as worthy of common kind.
ness, and content themselves to rob without insult. ing them. The French, as has been already observed, admit the Indians, by intermarriage, to an equality with themselves; and those nations, with which they have no such near intercourse, they gain over to their interest by honesty in their dealings. Our factors and traders, having no other purpose in view than immediate profit, use all the arts of an European counting-house, to de. fraud the simple hunter of his furs.
These are some of the causes of our present weakness; our planters are always quarrelling with their governour, whom they consider as less to be trusted than the French; and our traders hourly alienate the Indians by their tricks and oppressions, and we continue every day to shew by new proofs, that no people can be great who have ceased to be virtuous.
R E VI E W*
“ MEMOIRS OF THE COURT OF AUGUSTUS;
By THOMAS BLACKWELL, J. U.D.
THE first effect which this book has upon the
reader is that of disgusting him with the author's vanity. Heendeavours to persuade the world, that here are some new treasures of literature spread before his
eyes; that something is discovered, which to this happy day had been concealed in darkness; that by his diligence time had been robbed of some valuable monument which he was on the point of devouring; and that names and facts doomed to oblivion are now restored to fame.
How must the unlearned reader be surprised, when he shall be told that Mr. Blackwell has neither digged in the ruins of any demolished city, nor found out the way to the library of Fez; nor had a single book in his hands, that has not been in the possession of
every man that was inclined to read it, for years and ages; and that his book relates to a people who above all others have furnished employment to the studious, and amusements to the idle; who have scarcely left behind them a coin or a stone, which * Literary Magazine, Vol. I. p. 41.
has not been examined and explained a thousand times, and whose dress, and food, and household stuff, it has been the pride of learning to understand.
A man need not fear to incur the imputation of vicious diffidence or affected humility, who should have forborn to promise many novelties, when he perceived such multitudes of writers possessed of the same materials, and intent upon the same purpose. Mr. Blackwell knows well the opinion of Horace, concerning those that open their undertakings with magnificent promises; and he knows likewise the dictates of common sense and common honesty, names of greater authority than that of Horace, who direct that no man should promise what he cannot perform.
I do not mean to declare that this volume has nothing new, or that the labours of those who have gone before our author, have made his performance an useless addition to the burden of literature. New works may be constructed with old materials, the disposition of the parts may shew contrivance, the ornaments interspersed may discover elegance.
It is not always without good effect that men of proper qualifications write in succession on the same subject, even when the latter add nothing to the information given by the former; for the same ideas may be delivered more intelligibly or more delightfully by one than by another, or with attractions that may lure minds of a different form. No wri- . ter pleases all, and every writer may please some.
But after all, to inherit is not to acquire; to decorate is not to make; and the man who had no thing to do but to read the ancient authors, who
mention the Roman affairs, and reduce them to common-places, ought not to boast himself as a great benefactor to the studious world.
After a preface of boast, and a letter of flattery, in which he seems to imitate the address of Horace in his vile potabis modicis Sabinum-he opens
his book with telling us, that the “ Roman republic, “ after the horrible proscription, was no more at
bleeding Rome. The regal power of her consuls, “ the authority of her senate, and the majesty of “ her people, were now trampled under foot; these “ [for those] divine laws and hallowed customs, “ that had been the essence of her constitution
were set at nought, and her best friends were • lying exposed in their blood.”
These were surely very dismal times to those who suffered; but I know not why any one but a school. boy in his declamation should whine over the commonwealth of Rome, which grew great only by the misery of the rest of mankind. The Romans, like others, as soon as they grew rich grew corrupt, and, in their corruption, sold the lives and freedoms of themselves, and of one another.
“ About this time Brutus had his patience put “ to the highest trial: he had been married to Clodia; “ but whether the family did not please him, or “ whether he was dissatisfied with the lady's be“ haviour during his absence, he soon entertained
thoughts of a separation. This raised a good deal of talk, and the women of the Clodian family in
veighed bitterly against Brutus—but he married “ Portia, who was worthy of such a father as M. “ Cato, and such a husband as M. Brutus. She had