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the ground; as Hill, Dale, Heath, Wood, Greenwood, Lane, Hedges, Acres, Meadows.
Thus did our ancient families distinguish themselves by appellations which betokened industry, innocence, and independency; and which bore some relation to either their lands, their seats, or their business. If most of the flourishing modern families, who haunt the town, were to copy after our predecessors in this respect; many, who might be ambitious of being dignified by their places of abode, would have a right to assume the surnames of White's, Tom's, Will's,Button's, the Grecian, Jonathan's, Changealley, Groom-Porter's, &c. Others, who might be more desirous to be known by the particular arts of life they cultivated, or might be proud of signifying to posterity by what industry they happened to thrive in the world, would not be thought to arrogate by appropriating to themselves the genteel names of Hazard, Piquet, Ombre, Basset, Punter, Masker; Gamester, likewise, and Sharper, are no disreputable nor improper titles, with a handsome equipage; and, if any gentleman of the industrious tribe should have a particular fondness to a rural denomination, he may borrow, from a country animal, the surname of Setter.
FREE-THINKER, No. 120, May 15, 1719.
Ubi pro labore desidia, pro continentia et æquitate lubido atque superbia invasere , fortuna simul cum moribus immutatur.
Where sloth prevails instead of industry, where sensuality and pride have banished temperance and equity; the prosperity together with the morals of a country must necessarily undergo a change.
To carry on the essay, which was begun in my last.About the five hundred and seventieth year of the city (after the second Punic war), the Romans were invited into Greece, by the Ætolians and the Athenians : and when they had subdued Philip, King of Macedon, and his son Perses ; flushed with success, they extended their conquests into the Lesser Asia, and into Syria. Hence, their own writers date the visible declension of their former simplicity. Their victories turned to their prejudice ; for, with the arts, they adopted the vices, of the people they had subjected to their empire.
There was a sudden change in Rome : new arts and sciences were studied; the houses were new modeled and enlarged; sumptuous furniture and costly apparel were coveted; and their
diet was poisoned with the wantonness of cookery; the mounds of their ancient discipline overborne by the inundation of foreign luxuries, they refined their manners into excesses of every kind. In vain did the Censor now remind his fellowcitizens of the severity of their ancestors : example was grown too powerful for his authority : pleasure and idleness became liberal, labour and industry servile distinctions. The corruption, which began among the quality, insensibly infected the people to such a degree, that at last the most useless citizen was accounted the most honourable. In this polite state of degeneracy, their time (which before was usually employed to some laudable purpose) was now wholly divided between amusements, ceremonies, the tasks of ambition, feasting, and immoderate sleep: which brings me to what I proposed in the beginning of my preceding paper.
During the first four hundred and sixty years, the Romans knew no other divisions of the day, but into the morning, the noon, and the evening; and, in the law of the Twelve Tables, there is no mention made but of the rising and setting of the sun; neither was it till some years after, that the common crier proclaimed the noon with a loud voice. * Pliny says, that the first instrument which
the Romans ever had to distinguish the hours, was a sun-dial, placed by the Censor Papyrius Cursor in the court of the temple of Quirinus, ten years before the Tarentine war: and Marcus Varro informs us, that the first curiosity of this kind (which was exposed in public near the rostrum) was fixed upon a little pillar ; and that it was brought from Sicily by Valerius Messala, in the four hundred and seventy-seventh year of Rome. How imperfect soever this dial might be, they continued to regulate their time by it about ninety-nine years; till Martius Philippus (who was Censor with Paulus Æmilius) gave them one more complete: and Pliny adds, that he gained more reputation by this present to the public, than by all his other actions during his censorship
But, notwithstanding these helps, the Romans were still at a loss to know the time of the day, and to proportion their hours, as often as the sky was overcast; till Scipio Nasica, in the year five hundred and ninety-five, set up an invention to measure the hours by dropping of water out of one vessel into another; as we (on some occasions) now measure them by the running of sand. They counted twelve hours in the day; which were longer or shorter, according to the length or shortness of the days.
The first six hours were from sun-rising till noon; and the other six, from noon to the going down of the sun : and, that every master of a family might know at home how the time passed, there was commonly a slave kept in every house, whose whole employment was to run to and fro to observe the hours, and signify them to the family. Of this we have several traces in the Latin poets: and Pliny, speaking of sudden deaths, says, that Babius, who had been Prætor of Bithynia, died instantly when he had inquired of his servant the hour of the day.
Here again I am obliged to stop my career in the second stage of my subject, by some reflections that merit attention.
We have seen the Romans fall from the sobriety of their manners, by the acquisition of power; and decline in virtue as they grew in affluence and politeness; which at last ended in the total subversion, first of their liberties, and then of their empire. This has been the fate of almost all flourishing nations; and I fear England, without a timely care, will in a few years
furnish history with one pregnant example more of this kind. This observation makes me inclinable to believe, that the celebrated virtues of any community have been owing more to pecessity