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than choice; since we find, that most countries have admitted of as many extravagances as their circumstances could support. We have indeed many glorious instances of particular persons, who have enjoyed the most ample for. tunes with the greatest moderation ; but, I know of no powerful and flourishing state, that was ever able to maintain their ancient necessary virtues, and to distinguish themselves by a national heroism.

From the account of the Roman division of the day, we may observe how slow the progress of the most seemingly obvious arts and sciences must have been in all nations at the beginning. When the Romans were at last able to parcel out the day into twelve hours, yet even then it must have been a new and a tedious study to come to anexactness of dividing those hours into minutes, and subdividing the minutes into seconds : and yet, trifling as this knowledge may seem (which our clock-makers have brought to a surprising nicety), it would be endless to enumerate the uses of it,

Since our time is reduced to a standard, and the bullion of the day is minted out into hours, the industrious know how to employ every piece of time to a real advantage in their different professions; and he that is prodigal of his hours, is in effect) a squanderer of money. I remember to have heard of a notable woman, who was thoroughly sensible of the intrinsic value of time. Her husband was a shoemaker, and an excellent craftsman; but never minded how the minutes passed. In vain did his wife inculcate to him, that time is money; he had too much wit to apprehend her, and he cursed the parish-clock every night; which at last brought him to his ruin. One night, when the poor woman sent the prentice to call him home from the ale-house, he asked what a-clock it was? “ Twelve,” answers the boy.-"Gothen(saysthe master), and bid my wife be easy; it can never be more.” After an hour's patience, she sent again; “ What a-clock now, child ?”—“ One, Sir.”—“ That's a good boy: once more go and desire my wife to be comforted; it can never be less."

FREE-THINKER, No. 121, May 18, 1719.


No. XIV.

Strenua nos exercet inertia.


We're harassed and depriv'd of rest
By busy idleness at best.


WHILE the day was all of a piece at Rome, the manners of the people were simple, and their occupations such only as necessity required. No sooner had they learnt to tell out their time into hours, than they contrived methods to multiply the business of the day ; allotting to almost every hour a different care. If, then, we consider the Romans in this condition; they generally parceled out the day, in their ordinary course of living, in the following


They had their morning devotions, with which they usually began the day; going from temple to temple to recommend themselves, every man to as many gods as he thought he might stand in need of. Those who were not at leisure, or perhaps not disposed, to go abroad, acquitted themselves of this duty at home; the rich by sacrifices or offerings, and the poor only by vows and prayers. They had likewise their evening adorations; with this distinction, that their matins were for the celestial, and their vespers for the infernal deities. But the prime of the day was not wholly appropriated to the gods; they found it highly necessary not to be tardy in paying their respects to their own species: they were assiduous and early in their levee salutations : the inferior people paid their morning court to the magistrates ; and the magistrates went abroad betimes to worship the grandees of the city.

Thus were the first and the second hours of the sun ordinarily employed by the Roman citizens; if we except the severe students, the men of business, the merchants, the tradesmen, and artificers, who preferred industry to servility, and were not at leisure to be fashionable.

The third hour summoned the people to the courts of judicature, excepting on holidays, or when some more important affairs of government interrupted the business of the bar. Beside the judges, the lawyers, the solicitors, and the parties concerned, there was always a vast concourse in the Forum ; who came thither, partly to inquire after news, and partly to hear the pleadings; and who, during the republic,

took upon them to approve or to condemn the decisions that were made. For this reason it is, that Cicero, in the peroration of his accusation against Verres, threatens the judges with the censure of the Roman people, who heard him speak, if they should suffer the heinous crimes of Verres to escape the rigour of the law.

This attention took up the generality of the citizens (who were not obliged to be absent upon other concerns) during the third, the fourth, and the fifth hours. In the mean time, the rest (who were engaged in more urgent business) employed these hours according to their different callings, their rank, and their separate views. The knights sat as judges, and registered treaties and legal contracts : and the candidates for employments, or honours, went about the city with their friends and relations, to procure votes.

At last came the sixth hour of the day, the noon-tide; at which time every man retired to his home, made a slender dinner, and took a moderate refreshing nap.

The first hours in the afternoon were usually allotted to bodily exercises ; as walking, riding in a coach, or playing at mall: and the youth of fashion, whose ambition prompted them to improve their agility and strength, went into

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