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very coolly, I was fatisfied with a fingle view of these monuments: I was as fhort a time about it as poffible.' We believe you, Mr. Grofley!-But though a share of national pride might. forbid his paying a particular attention to thefe trophies and monuments, he fhould remember that, as they have their foundation in truth, they are honourable to Great Britain: his country has been remarkable for a parade in celebrating their fucceffes, and fometimes even defeats under the name of victories: befide which, he himself produces inftances in which the French dramatic writers have freely ridiculed the. English; and he alfo acknowledges that Lewis the Fourteenth is the first modern fovereign who infulted foreign nations by ftanding monuments of this kind; but, fays he, they have fince paid him in his own coin.
The English melancholy is a fubject on which this Writer dwells for a confiderable time: Notwithstanding, fays he, all the involuntary and premeditated efforts of the English to difpel the melancholy, which fo predominates in their conftitution,, Poft equitem fedet atra cura; it produces among them a thousand effects as well general as particular.' The caufes of it he finds in the fogs which envelop the kingdom, in animal food, beer, wine, and the fmoke of fea-coal fires; befide these physical reafons, he fuppofes there are moral ones which continue and heighten what the others began.
Education, religion, public diverfions, and the works of authors in vogue, he tells us, feem to have no other end but to feed and propagate this diftemper.-The English, fays he, find no relief from reflection, except in reflection itself; they have no other means of amufing themfelves; and gaming gives them pleasure, only by affording them an opportunity to refect.I never faw more than one fcene of gaiety in England, which was the more remarkable as it was quite mifplaced: this was the fecond day of Lord Byron's trial at Westminster-hall. A well dreffed man was very inconveniently feated upon the highest step of that part of the amphitheatre, where I happened to be placed. An hour before the peers entered, this man rofe, and began to prate to every body that stood near him: he spoke very loud, and his words were accompanied and enforced by the geftures of a mountebank: they were interrupted by the audience with loud peals of laughter, in which he himself joined; and this lafted till the peers entered. I thought he was in liquor; but a gentleman told me he was a member of the House of Commons, of a very facetious difpofition, and that he fometimes exhibited fcenes of the fame droll nature in the fenate-house.
Setting afide a few exceptions, which confirm the general rule, as they are in but a very fmall number, melancholy prevails in London in every family, in circles, in affemblies, at public and private entertainments; fo that the English nation, which fees verified in itfelf the populum late regem of Virgil, offers to the eyes of ftrangers enly populum late triftem.?
Here let us add what this Foreigner obferves in another place, when describing Ranelagh and Vauxhall, which places he admires :
The English affert, he remarks, that fuch entertainments as thefe can never fubfift in France, on account of the levity of the people. Certain it is, that thofe of Vauxhall and Ranelagh, which are guarded only by outward decency, are conducted without that tumult and diforder, which often disturb the public diversions of France. I do not know, whether the English are gainers thereby : the joy, which they seem in fearch of at these places, does not beam through their countenances; they look as grave at Vauxhall and Ranelagh, as at the Bank, at church, or a private club. All perfons there seem to fay, what a young English nobleman faid to his governor, Am. 1 as joyous as I should be?'
Among many other things upon this fubject it is farther faid, 'I am not ignorant, that, in all countries, in proportion to the fize of their towns, the inhabitants are prevented, by interest, by vanity, by indolence, by fatiety, and by the continual clashing of a thoufand inferior paffions; are prevented, I fay, from having that free and eafy chearfulness of temper, which is to be found in country places, under a mild and moderate government;
Extrema per illos
Lætitia excedens terris veftigia fixit.
But in England the peafant, well-fed, well-lodged, and at his eafe, has as ferious and melancholy an air, as thofe wretched hinds in other countries, who are perfecuted and harraffed by thousands, whose business it is, and who are even fworn, to defend and protect them.'
The English, as well as other people, have, no doubt, certain characteristic marks belonging to them, and may from thence furnish some subjects for ridicule. That the melancholy which this Writer talks fo much about is prevalent among us, in too great a degree, we will not wholly deny, and it is not at all furprizing that the appearances of this kind fhould ftrongly imprefs a Frenchman, who, whatever may be his own particular temper, is accuftomed to the greater vivacity of his countrymen, in general: of whofe light and airy difpofition, we may obferve, by the way, that it is, without doubt, a great means of keeping them in fubmiffion to an oppreffive and arbitrary government, which, did they generally think more, they would probably regard as intolerable; and for this cause their levity and thoughtleffnefs may be politically encouraged.
But in refpect of the English melancholy, allowing it to have too large a fhare in forming the national character, let us obferve, that there are among us, as in every country, a great variety of difpofitions, and frequently a ftrange mixture in the fame perfon; and this Author, who has certainly imbibed many mistaken notions concerning us, might be greatly misled alfo in obfervations of this kind. Though a Frenchman may. pof
fibly think that a man cannot be easy and happy without giving fome evident external indications of it, yet a ferious air does by no means always imply any inward uneafinefs, or a want of fenfibility to what is really agreeable or diverting.
But we find some confolation in what this philofophical Traveller farther remarks, that, from this gloomy difpofition refult feveral effects, the combination of which is the bafis of the English character.' Plutarch, after Ariftotle, has faid, That none but great geniuses are subject to melancholy *. Hence therefore, our Author concludes, arifes the aptitude of the Englifh for the fciences; hence alfo their national pride.
The impetuofity, and the perfeverance, fays he, with which me lancholy dwells upon fuch objects as intereft and engage it, are the principles, which induce the English to concern themselves fo much about public affairs.Whatever does honour to the English nation, at the fame time, throws a luftre upon each citizen; those men, therefore, whofe fervices, knowledge, and abilities, have contributed to raise the glory of England meet with all that refpe&t, veneration, and homage, 'which were the greateft rewards and chief hope of the most renowned heroes of antiquity: a homage paid with a warmth unknown to thofe men, who, being the abject flaves of money or worldly profperity, can neither form a juft eftimate of actions, nor a judgment of characters, which their weak eyes dare not to contemplate steadily.
This ardour, which warmed Rome and Greece, is to be found in England, and must neceffarily produce the fame fruits in that kingdom. The British Museum, the palaces of great noblemen, the cabinets of the curious, the houses of citizens, those dark and folitary grottos which people of fortune confecrate to melancholy in their country retirements, the taverns and inns, the houfes where people meet for public diverfions, are all adorned with figures painted or engraved, and with bufts of all fizes, made of all forts of materials, of Bacon, Shakespeare, Milton, Locke, Addison, Newton, and even Cromwell himfelf: I could not without aftonishment fee a fine buft of the latter fill a diftinguished place in the British Museum.'
From this fource, alfo, of melancholy, and national pride, Monf. Grofley derives our many public and private undertakings for the general good, together with numerous acts of munificence, and inftances of what he calls patriotic magnificence. 'Military glory, which, in the annals of ancient chivalry, adds this Foreigner, had placed King Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table, in the first clafs of heroes; and the great exploits, which, in ages more enlightened, have preserved that glory to the inhabitants of Great Britain, had likewise their fource in the national character of the English, and in that melancholy which is its predominant principle.' He here cites a few hiftorical authorities in fupport of his affertion, that melancholy, and the uneafinefs it occafions, may have a great
Plut. Life of Lyfander.
influence upon valour, confidered as arifing from the contempt of life; and that they may have had fome fhare in the most brilliant actions of the English, as well in their ancient expeditions against France, as in their civil wars.' Among the few inftances of this kind, here inferted, he gives us that of his own countryman, the Chevalier Bayard; who, for feven years, was troubled with a quartan ague. Now this, we are told, was the very time which eftablished his reputation as an hero.' It is highly probable that there have been occafions in which a difguft of life, arifing from different causes, may have prompted particular perfons to hazardous and defperate undertakings, that they might be delivered from the burthen: but if this Writer intends, by his obfervations, to depreciate the valour of the English, or to intimate that their fortitude and heroifm are ge nerally to be traced to the spring of melancholy and discontent, his hypothefis is too evidently ungenerous and puerile to require any formal refutation.
Our Traveller, however, is not, perhaps, greatly mistaken, in attributing fuicide, fanaticism, fuperftition, and lunacy (evils which are to be found in every country) to the above caufe: on each of these he bestows fome proper reflections; after which he proceeds to propofe a remedy for this epidemical difeafe, the English melancholy; and what should this be, but the free importation of French wines!
If any one, fays he, fhould defire this change (in the English character) it is the King of England, who no longer finds among hist people that fubmiffion and dutiful docility which they paid to the Edwards and the Henrys. But in the days of thofe princes the vine was cultivated in England; all the ports of the kingdom were open to French, Spanish, and Italian wines; the monasteries and the chapter houfes had their cellars; in a word, the juice of the grape was in fuch general ufe, and the people, who are always in extremes, abused it to fuch a degree, that King Henry V. by an express law, forbad every Englishman to drink wine without water.'
He obferves farther, that France has not a moment to Jofe, but fhould immediately put itself in a condition, by a reduction of the duties upon wines intended for English confumption, of refifting a dangerous rivalfhip, which may fhortly arife from the colonies of Carolina and Georgia, where vines are faid to grow fpontaneously, and where the planters have for fometime paft applied themselves to the cultivation of them.
The ufe of wine (proceeds our Foreigner) being restored in England, whether by France or America; the English grown more tractable and lefs fpeculative, more gay, and lefs addicted to difpute and wrangling, more friends to fociety, and lefs faturnine, more fubmiffive, and lefs occupied with ftate affairs, lefs profound in their fpeculations, and more religious; the English, I fay, will then have no fault to find with the change in their manner of living, unlefs
they fhould imitate that ridiculous Athenian, who, being cured by the care of his friends of a hypochondriac diforder, exclaimed, Pol me occidiftis, amici,
Dum demptus per vim mentis gratiffimus error..
It is not entirely clear whether this ingenious empiric is grave or ludicrous in his prefcription, fince there appears fome mixture of each. However he concludes with obferving, that all he has been saying upon this fubject is only a homily or commentary upon a maxim confecrated by the authority of holy writ. Date vinum iis qui amaro funt animo, et bibant. Proverbs xxxi. 6. Give wine to those that be of heavy hearts, let them drink.'
We fhall now make a few extracts from the account which this Frenchman gives of the FAIR inhabitants of our island.
That fex, fays he, is, in its present ftate, juft fuch as one could wish it to be, in order to form the felicity of wedlock. The fhare which the women have in the seriousness and melancholy of the nation, by rendering them fedentary, attaches them to their hufbands, to their children, and the care of their houfes. They, for the most part, nurse their own children themfelves; and this cuftom, which gains ground every day, is a new tie of affection to the mothers.The English women are by no means indifferent about public affairs. Their interefting themselves in thefe, gives a new pleasure to social life: the husband always finds at home fomebody to whom he can open himself, and converfe as long and as earneftly as he thinks proper, upon thofe fubjects which he has moft at heart.-At an affembly compofed of both fexes, a lady afked me, Whether I ftill had many curiofities and objects of obfervation to vifit in London ? I made anfwer, That there was fill one of great importance left for me to know, and that she and her company could give me all the information I defired: this was, Whether, in England, the husband or the wife governed the houfe? My queftion being explained to all the ladies prefent, they difcuffed it, amufed themfelves with it; and the answer which they agreed fhould be returned to me was, that husbands alone could refolve me. I then propofed it to the hufbands, who with one voice declared, that they durft not decide.
The perplexity difcovered by thofe gentlemen gave me the folution I defired. In fact, the English ladies and wives, with the most. mild and gentle tone, and with an air of indifference, coldness, and languor, exercise a power equally defpotic over both husbands and lovers a power fo much the more permanent, as it is established and fupported by a complaifance and fubmitivenefs from which they tarely depart.
This complaifance, this fubmiffion, and this mildness, are happy virtues of constitution, which Nature has given them, to ferve as a fort of mafk to all that is moft haughty, proud, and impetuous, in the English character.
To the gifts of Nature, add the charms of beauty; which is very common in England. With regard to graces, the English women have those which accompany beauty, and not thofe artificial graces that cannot fupply its place; thofe tranfient graces, which are not