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servation to be just, we shall find, upon comparing the savage of America with the savage of Europe, as described by Cæsar and Tacitus, that the former is at least equal to the latter in all the virtues above enumerated.
We need not, however, go so far for instances, to shew, that other causes act more powerfully than climate, in forming the manners, and fixing the characters of men. London and Paris are, at present, the first cities in Europe, in point of opulence and number of inhabitants ; and in no other part of the western world are the polite and elegant arts cultivated to such advantage. But the inhabitants of thoes cities differ essentially in manners, sentiments, and opinions ; while, at the same time, they breathe an air so very much alike, that it is impossible to impute that difference, in any considerable degree, to difference of climate ; and, perhaps, it may not be a difficult task to point out various other causes, which
may enable us to account, sufficiently for the distinction between the national character of the two people.
In France, the power of the great nobles was sooner reduced within bounds than in England; and, in proportion as their power fell, that of the monarch rose. But no sooner was the authority of the crown established on a firm basis, than the court became an object of the first attention and importance. Every man of genius, of distinction, and of rank, hastened thither, in hopes of meeting with that encouragement which his talents merited, or of being able to display, on the only proper theatre, those advantages which he possessed, either in reality, or in his own imagination.
Thus Paris, the seat of the court, became the centre of all that was great and noble, elegant and polite. The manners every day became more and more polished; and no man who did not possess the talents necessary to make himself agreeable could expect to rise in the world, however great
his abilities might otherwise be. The pleasures of so, ciety were cultivated with care and assiduity; and nothing tended more to promote them, than that free intercourse which soon came to take place between the sexes. All men studied to acquire those graces and accomplishments by which alone they could hope to recommend themselves to the ladies, whose influence pervaded every branch of government and every department of the state.
In England, on the other hand, the crown gained little by the fall of the nobility. The high prerogative exerted by the princes of the Tudor race, was of short duration. A third order soon arose, that, for a time, trạmpled alike on the throne and the nobles. And even after the constitution was at length happily settled, the Sovereign remained so limited in power and in revenue, that his court never acquired a degree of infuence or splendor at all comparable to that of the French monarch. London had become so great and opulent by its extensive commerce, that the residence of the court could add little to that consideration in which it was already held. This circumstance had a powerful effect on What was looked
as a virtue at Paris, was in London considered as a vice. There industry and frugality were so essentially requisite, that every elegant accomplishment was rejected as incompatible with those great commercial virtues.
The dark and gloomy spirit of fanaticism, which prevailed so universally in England during the last century, served as an additional barrier against the progress of politeness and elegance of manners. Add to this, that the English (owing perhaps to the superior degree of liberty they enjoy, and to their high independent spirit) have ever been more attached to
a country life than any civilized people in Europe ; and this last circumstance, slight as it may appear, has perhaps had as powerful an influence as any I have mentioned. A man who lives in retirement, may be sincere, open, honourable, above dissimulation, and free from disguise ; but he never can possess that ease of behaviour, and that elegance of manners, which nothing but a familiar acquaintance with the world, and the habit of mingling in society, and of conversing with persons of different ranks and different characters can bestow.
Let us not repine, however, at the superiority of our neighbours in this respect. It is, perhaps, impossible to possess, at once, the useful and the agreeable qualities in an eminent degree ; and if ease and politeness be only attainable at the expence of sincerity in the men, and chastity in the women, I flat. ter myself, there are few of my readers who would not think the purchase made at too high a price.
I have, of late, remarked, with regret, an affectation of the manners of France, and a disposition in some of the higher ranks to introduce into this island that species of gallantry which has so long prevailed in that nation. But, happily, neither the habits, the dispositions, the genius of our people, nor that mixture of ranks which our constitution necessarily produces, will admit of it. In France, they contrive to throw over their greatest excesses a veil so delicate and so fine, as in some measure to hide the deformity of vice, and even at times to bestow upon it the sem. blance of virtue. But with us, less delicate and less refined, vice appears in its native colours, without concealment and without disguise ; and were the gallantry of Paris transplanted
into this soil, it would soon degenerate into gross debauchery. At present my country-women are equally respected for their
virtue, as admired for their beauty; and I trust it will be loug before they cease to be so.
N° 19. TUESDAY, MARCH 30, 1779.
My friend Mr. Umphraville's early retirement, and long residence in the country, have given him many peculiarities, to which, had he continued longer in the world, and had a freer intercourse with mankind, he would probably not have been subject. These give to his manner an apparent hardness, which, in reality, is widely different from his natural disposition.
As he passes much time in study and solitude, and is naturally of a thoughtful cast, the subjects of which he reads, and the opinions which he forms, make a strong and deep impression on his mind; they become, as it were, friends and companions from whom he is unwilling to be separated. Hence he commonly shews a disposition to take a lead in, and give the tone to conversation, and delivers his opinions too much in the manner of a lecture. And, though this curiosity and love of information concur with that politeness which he is ever studious to ob, serve, to make him listen with patience and atten. tion to the opinions of others, yet, it must be confessed, that he is apt to deliver his own with an uncommon degree of warmth, and I have
seldom found him disposed to surrender them.
I find, however, nothing disagreeable in this pe.
culiarity of my friend. The natural strength of his understanding, the extent of his knowledge, and that degree of taste which he has derived from a strong conception of the sublime, the tender, and the beautiful, assisted by an extensive acquaintance with the elegant writers, both of ancient and modern times, render his conversation, in many respects, both instructive and entertaining ; and that singularity of opinion, which is the natural consequence of his want of opportunities of comparing his own ideas with those of others, affords me an additional plea
But, above all, I am delighted with the goodness of heart which breaks forth in every sentiment he delivers.
Mr. Umphraville's sister, who is often present, and sometimes takes a part in those conversations, is of a character at once amiable and respectable.
In her earlier days, she spent much of her time in the perusal of novels and romances : but though she still retains a partiality for the few works of that kind which are possessed of merit, her reading is now chiefly confined to works of
Miss Umphraville, though she has not so much learning, possesses, perhaps, no less ability as a woman, than her brother does as a man; and, having less peculiarity in her way of thinking, has, consequently, a knowledge better fitted for common life. It is pleasing to observe how Miss Umphraville, while she always appears to act an under-part, and sometimes indeed, not to act a part at all, yet watches with a tender concern, over the singularities of her brother's disposition; and without betraying the smallest consciousness of her power, generally contrives to direct him in the most material parts of his conduct.
Mr. Umphraville is the best master, and the best landlord, that ever lived. The rents of his estate VOL. XXXIV.