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and knowlege to a whole people, and produce the greatest improvements: But they fix the tongue by their writings, and prevent, in some degree, its farther changes.
LORD Bacon has observed, that the inhabitants of the south are, in general, more ingenious than those of the north ; but that, where the native of a cold climate has genius, he rises to a higher pitch than can be reached by the southern wits. This observation a late writer * confirms, by comparing the southern wits to cucumbers, which are commonly all good of their kind; but at best are an insipid fruit: While the northern geniuses are like melons, of which not one in fifty is good, but when it is good, it has an exquisite relish. I believe this remark may be allowed just, when confined to the EUROPEAN nations, and to the present age, or rather to the preceding one : But then I think it may be accounted for from moral causes. All the sciences and liberal arts have been imported to us from the south; and it's easy to imagine, that, in the first ardor of application, when excited by emulation and by glory, the few, who were addicted to them, would carry them to the greatest height, and stretch every nerve, and every faculty, to reach the pinnacle of perfection. Such illustrious examples spred knowlege every where, and begot an universal esteem for the sciences : After which, 'tis no wonder, that industry relaxes; while men meet not with suitable encouragement, nor arrive at such distinction by their attainments. The universal diffusion of learning among a people, and the entire banishment of grofs. ignorance and rusticity is, therefore, feldom attended with any remarkable perfection in particular persons. It seems to be taken for granted in the dialogue de Oratoribus, that knowlege was much more common in VESPASIAN's age than in that of CICERO or AUGUSTUS. QUINCTILIAN also complains of the profana-. tion of learning, by its becoming too vulgar. “ Formerly, says JUVENAL, sci" ence was confined to Greece and Italy. Now the whole world emulate “ ATHENS and Rome. Eloquent Gaul has taught BRITAIN, knowing in the os laws. Even Thule entertains thoughts of hiring rhetoricians for its instruc" tion t." This state of learning is remarkable ; because JUVENAL is himself the last of the Roman writers, who possessed any degree of genius. Those, who succeeded, are valued for nothing but the matters of fact, of which they give us information. I hope the late conversion of Muscovy to the study of the sciences will not prove a like prognostic to the present period of learning.
CARDINAL BENTIVOGLIO gives the preference to the northern nations above the southern with regard to condor and sincerity; and mentions, on the one hand, the SPANIARDS and ITALIANS, and on the other, the Flemish and GERMANS. But I am apt to think, that this has happened by accident. The ancient RoMANS seem to have been a candid sincere people as are the modern Turks. But if we must needs suppose, that this event has arisen from fixed causes, we may only conclude from it, that all extremes are apt to concur, and are commonly at
* Dr. BERKELY: Minute philosopher.
“+ Sed Cantaber unde
De conducendo loquitur jam rhetore THULE,"
tended with the same consequences. Treachery is the usual concomitant of ignorance and barbarism; and if civilized nations ever embrace subtle and crooked politics, 'tis from an excess of refinement, which makes them disdain the plain direct road to power and glory.
Most conquests have gone from north to south; and thence it has been inferred, that the northern nations possess a superior degree of courage and ferocity. But it would have been juster to have said, that most conquests are made by poverty and want upon plenty and riches. The SARACENS, leaving the deserts of ARABIA, carried their conquests northwards upon all the fertile provinces of the Roman empire; and met the Turks half way, who were coming southwards from the deferts of TARTARY.
An eminent writer * has remarked, that all couragious animals are also carnivo. rous, and that greater courage is to be expected in a people, such as the ENGLISH, whose food is strong and hearty, than in the half-starved commonalty of other countries. But the Swedes, notwithstanding their disadvantages in this particular, are not inferior, in martial courage, to any nation that ever was in the world.
In general, we may observe, that courage, of all national qualities, is the most precarious ; because it is exerted only at intervals, and by a few in every nation ; whereas industry, knowlege, civility, may be of constant and universal use, and for several ages, may become habitual to the whole people. If courage be preserved, it must be by discipline, example, and opinion. The tenth legion of CÆSAR, and the regiment of PICARDY in FRANCE were formed promiscuously from among the citizens ; but having once entertained a notion, that they were the best troops in the service, this very opinion really made them such.
As a proof how much courage depends on opinion, we may observe, that of the two chief tribes of the Greeks, the DORIANS, and IONIANS, the former were always esteemed, and always appeared more brave and manly than the latter; tho' the colonies of both the tribes were interspersed and intermingled thro' all the extent of GREECE, the lesser Asia, Sicily, ITALY and the islands of the ÆGEAN sea. The ATHENIANS were the only IONIANS that ever had any reputation for valor or military archievements; tho' even these were esteemed inferior to the LACEDEMONIANS, the bravest of the DORIANS.
The only observation, with regard to the differences of men in different climates, on which we can rest any weight, is the vulgar one, that people in the northern regions have a greater inclination to strong liquors, and those in the southern to love and women. One can assign a very probable physical cause for this difference. Wine and distilled spirits warm the frozen blood in the colder climates, and fortify men against the injuries of the weather: As the genial heat of the sun, in the countries, exposed to his beams, infames the blood, and exalts the passion betwixt the sexes.
Perhaps too, the matter may be accounted for by moral causes. All strong liquors are rarer in the north, and consequently are more coveted. DIODORUS SICULUS †
* Sir WillIAM TEMPLE's account of the Ne- tional character, implies unsociableness. Aristherlands.
TOTLE in his politics, book 2. chap. 9. says that † Lib. 5. The same author ascribes taciturnity the Gauls are the only warlike nation, who are to that people; a new proof that national charac- negligent of women. ters may alter very much. Taciturnity, as a na
tells us, that the Gauls, in his time, were great drunkards, and much addicted to wine; chiefly, I suppose, from its rarity and novelty. On the other hand, the heat in the southeru climates, obliging men and women to go half naked, thereby renders 'their frequent commerce more dangerous, and infames their mutual paflion. This makes parents and husbands more jealous and reserved ; which still farther inflames the paffion. Not to mention, that as women ripen fooner in the southern regions, 'tis necesary to observe greater jealousy and care in their education ; it being evident that a girl of twelve cannot possess equal discretion to govern this passion, with one, who feels not its violence till she be seventeen or eighteen.
PERHAPS too, the fact is false, that nature has, either from moral or physical causes, distributed these different inclinations to the different climates. The antient GREEKS, tho' born in a warm climate, seem to have been much addicted to the bottle ; nor were their parties of pleasure any thing but matches of drinking among the men, who passed their time altogether apart from the fair-sex. Yet when ALEXANDER led the Greeks into Persia, a still more southern climate, they multiplied their debauches of this kind, in imitation of the PERSIAN man. ners * So honorable was the character of a drunkard among the PERSIANS, that Cyrus the younger, soliciting the fober LACEDEMONIANS for succor against his brother, ARTAXERXES, claims it chiefly on account of his superior endowments, as more valorous, more bountiful, and a better drinker t. Darius HysTAspes made it be inscribed on his tombstone, among his other virtues and princely qualities, that no one could bear a greater quantity of liquor. You may obtain any thing of the Negroes by offering them strong drink; and may easily prevail with them to sell, not only their parents, but their wives and mistresses, for a cask of brandy. In France and İTALY few drink pure wine, except in the greatest heats of summer; and indeed, it is then almost as necessary, in order to recruit the spirits, evaporated by heat, as it is in SWEDEN, during the winter, in order to warm the bodies congealed by the rigor of the season.
If jealousy be regarded as a proof of an amorous disposition, no people were more jealous than the Muscovites, before their communication with EUROPE had somewhat altered their manners in this particular.
But supposing the fact true, that nature, by physical principles, has regularly distributed these two passions, the one to the northern, the other to the southern regions; we can only infer, that the climate may affect the groffer and more bodily organs of our frame; not that it can work upon those finer organs, on which the operations of the mind and understanding depend. And this is agreeable to the analogy of nature. The races of animals never degenerate when carefully tended; and horses, in particular, always show their blood in their shape, spirit, and swiftness: But a coxcomb may beget a philosopher, as a man of virtue may leavę a worthless progeny,
I SHALL conclude this subject with observing, that tho' the passion for liquor be much more brutal and debasing than love, which, when properly managed, is the source of all politeness and refinement; yet this gives not so great an advan.
• BABYLONII maxime in vinum & quæ ebrietatem sequuntur, effufa sunt. Quint, Cur. Lib. s.
† Plut, Symp. Lib. 3. Quæst. 4.
tage to the southern climates, as we may be apt, at first sight, to imagine. When love goes beyond a certain pitch, it renders men jealous, and cuts off the free intercourse betwixt the sexes, on which the politeness of a nation will always much depend. And if we would subtilize and refine upon this point, we might observe, that nations, in very temperate climates, stand the fairest chance for all forts of improvement; their blood not being so inflamed as to render them jealous, and yet being warm enough to make them fet a due value on the charms and endowments of the fair sex.
S A Y. XXV.
JT seems an unaccountable pleasure, which the spectators of a well-wrote trageI dy receive from forrow, terror, anxiety, and other passions, which are in themselves disagreeable and uneasy. The more they are touched and affected, the more are they delighted with the spectacle, and as soon as the uneasy passions cease to operate, the piece is at an end. One scene of full joy and contentment and security is the utmost, that any composition of this kind can bear; and it is sure always to be the concluding one. If in the texture of the piece, there be interwoven any scenes of satisfaction, they afford only faint gleams of pleasure, which are thrown in by way of variety, and in order to plunge the actors into deeper distress, by means of that contrast and disappointment. The whole art of the poet is employed, in rouzing and supporting the compassion and indignation, the anxiety and resentment of his audience. They are pleased in proportion as they are afflicted ; and never are so happy as when they employ tears, fobs, and cries to give vent to their forrow, and relieve their heart, swoln with the tenderest sympathy and compassion.
The few critics, who have had some tincture of philosophy, have remarked this singular phænomenon, and have endeavored to account for it.
L'ABBE Dubos, in his reflections on poetry and painting, asserts, that nothing is in general so disagreeable to the mind as the languid, listless state of indolence, into which it falls upon the removal of every passion and occupation. To get rid of this painful situation, it seeks every amusement and pursuit ; business, gaining, shows, executions; whatever will rouze the passions, and take its attention froin itself. No matter, what the passion is: Let it be disagreeable, afflicting, melancholy, disordered; it is still better than that insipid languor, which arises from perfect tranquillity and repose. ..,
It is impossible not to admit this account, as being, at least, in part fatisfactory. You may observe, when there are several tables of gaming, that all the company run to those, where the deepest play is, even tho' they find not there the finest players. The view, or at least, imagination of high passions, arising from great loss or gain, affects the spectators by sympathy, gives them some touches of the same passions, and serves them for a momentary entertainment. It makes
Tue few critics, who
and have endeavored to asinting, asserts, tha
the time pass the easier with them, and is some relief to that oppression, under which men commonly labor, when left entirely to their own thoughts and meditations.
We find, that common lyars always magnify, in their narrations, all kinds of danger, pain, distress, sickness, deaths, murders, and cruelties ; as well as joy, beauty, mirth, and magnificence. It is an absurd fecret, which they have for pleasing their company, fixing their attention, and attaching them to such marvellous relations, by the passions and emotions, which they excite.
THERE is, however, a difficulty of applying to the present subject, in its full extent, this solution, however ingenious and satisfactory it may appear. It is certain, that the same object of distress which pleases in a tragedy, were it really set before us, would give the most unfeigned uneasiness, tho' it be then the most effectual cure of languor and indolence. Monsieur Fontenelle feems to have been sensible of this difficulty ; and accordingly attempts another solution of the phænomenon ; at least, makes some addition to the theory abovementioned *.
6 PLEASURE and pain,” says he, “ which are two sentiments so different in " themselves, differ not-so much in their cause. From the instance of tickling, " it appears, that the movement of pleasure pushed a lictle too far, becomes pain; " and that the movement of pain, a little moderated, becomes pleasure. Hence “ it proceeds, that there is such a thing as a sorrow, soft and agreeable: It is a 66 pain weakened and diminished. The heart likes naturally to be moved and af« fected. Melancholy objects suit it, and even disastrous and sorrowful, pro“ vided they are softened by some circumstance. It is certain, that on the theatre, “ the representation has almost the effect of reality ; but yet it has not altogether " that effect. However we may be hurried away by the spectacle; whatever “ dominion the senses and imagination may usurp over the reason, there still " lurks at the bottom a certain idea of fallhood in the whole of what we fee. This “ idea, tho' weak and disguised, suffices to diminish the pain which we suffer “ from the misfortunes of those whom we love, and to reduce that affliction to " such a pitch as converts it into a pleasure. We weep for the misfortune of a “ hero, to whom we are attached : In the same instant we comfort ourselves, by " reflecting, that it is nothing but a fiction : And it is precisely, that mixture “ of sentiments, which composes an agreeable forrow, and tears that delight us. " But as that affliction, which is caused by exterior and sensible objects, is stronger " than the confolation which arises from an internal reflection, they are the ef“ fects and symptoms of sorrow, which ought to prevail in the composition.”
This solution feems just and convincing ; but perhaps it wants still some new addition, in order to make it answer fully the phænomenon, which we here examine. All the passions, excited by eloquence, are agreeable in the highest degree, as well as those which are moved by painting and the theatre. The epilogues of CICERO are, on this account chiefly, the delight of every reader of taite, and it is difficult to read some of them without the deepest sympathy and forrow. His merit as an orator, no doubt, depends much on his success in this particular. When he had raised tears in his judges and all his audience, they were then the moit highly delighted, and expressed the greatest satisfaction with the pleader.
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* Reflexions sur la poetique. $ 36