Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

not been palatable, he would not have fwallowed it fo greedily; and him I have been particularly affiduous to ferve: I have not only taken upon myself the difagreeable task of beating him, but have ⚫ rendered him other benefits which muft laft him his life. And I am under the most difagreeable neceffity of drawing an inference, which muft inevitably deprive me, in future, of a very great fatisfaction; and I will not fmother my fentiments, when I believe that they were kindled by truth;—and I am at prefent clearly of opinion, that

GOOD USAGE MAKES BAD SERVANTS;

I speak generally; and by good ufage, I mean extraordinary good ufage.'

The conclufion feems a little harfh. The inference will not in all cafes hold, though it will in many. Good fervants, who are attached to their mafter from the pure principles of gratitude and affection are fometimes, we know, to be found; but never, unless the mafter has judgment to difcern and to difcriminate; if this is wanting, thefe gentle emotions are repreffed in their minds, and they remove to fome other mafter, in quest of a congeniality of difpofition. Genuine beneficence of heart, with a fteady firmnefs of temper, capable of refenting without paffion, and inflicting, without abatement, those punishments which reafon points out as neceffary, are the qualities moft likely to attach the virtuous fervant, and to difguft the profligate. Without tenderness for a fervant's intereft, no mafter deserves, nor ever will obtain, his hearty good will; but when that tenderness degenerates into weakness, all is loft.

The following reflections on this fubject fhew that the Author has ftudied it, and contain much truth:

The Author was more embarraffed in the selection of the MrNUTES ON SERVANTS, than in the choice of thofe on any other fubject. On the one hand, he was aware of the irksomeness which muft ever accompany a recital of domestic bickerings: on the other, it would have been truly inconfiftent in a Man who profeffedly becomes public to hold out lights to the inexperienced, to have obfcured the Beacon which ought, of all others, to be rendered confpicuous: for on a proper management of Servants depends in a great measure the Profits and Pleafures of Agriculture. He therefore felected for publication fuch, and fuch only, as he thought might convey some useful hint to the Novitial Agriculturist.

For the want of the knowledge of a few fuch facts as are to be found in the Minutes on Servants, the Writer is conscious that he has experienced many uneafy moments: and he believes, that had he fet out with the ideas he is now poffeffed of, he fhould have been efteemed a better Mafter (and to be thought a good Mafter is a laudable ambition, which Masters in general afpire at) and fhould have had the fatisfaction of paying wages to better Servants.

It is true, the Author may have been (he hopes and believes he has been) unfortunate in the neighbourhood he happened to fix in ; yet he cannot help thinking that the feeming ingratitude of Servants is not confined to any particular diftrict; but is an univerfal frailty

founded

founded in Human Nature; and depends principally upon their ma.

nagement.

SELF-LOVE is the fovereign of Mafter and Servant; and SELFEST FEM is a fomenter of public and private difcord.

6

By way of illuftration; I am a Servant.-I receive a favour, which I did not expect.-I reafon thus: "This favour must proceed either from my Master's generofity or from my deferts ;-my Master, it is true, is generous, and fo am I deferving;-how many good offices have I done him? How often have I done thofe things which many other Servants would have left undone? He must have perceived this, and thus he requites me." I value myself on this, but continue to do my duty; and my Mafter (who probably has put no Small eftimate on his generofity) continues to give me good ufage: but he does not repeat his extra favour, at the time when in my own efteem I deferve it, and of courfe expect it. I fancy myfelf flighted, and grow indifferent;-my Mafter perceives it, and treats me with referve. I begin to fancy my good offices thrown away, and grow neglectful of my duty; my Mafter fees this, and becomes authoritative. I, fancying myself too important to be difmiffed, refent it; and he, to difburden himself of an incumbrance, difcharges me. Now, and not till now, I perceive my mistake; it was not my defervingnefs, but folely my Mater's generofity which conferred on me the favour. I did, or endeavoured to do, my duty; and my Mafter, by way of encouraging me in the perfeverance of it, and to gratify his own good difpofition, unfortunately conferred on me that which has been the cause of many unhappy hours, and has at length brought me to this difgrace. Had I not received a favour which I did not expect, I should still have been the dutiful Servant of an indulgent Matter.

The Writer is fo fully convinced of the mifchievoufnefs of granting unexpected favours to Farming-fervants (and to ignorant Servants in general), that he has more than once got peaceable riddance of a troublefome fellow by exalting him above his fellow-labourers.

This is a piece of philofophy which may feem to frike at the root of the firft Chriftian virtues. God forbid that it fhould clofe the hand of CHARITY, where charity is due! But it is a PROPER CHOICE of the object, not the GIFT, which conftitutes BENEVOLENCE: it is not the NUMBER OF PIECES given, but the HOURS OF WRETCHEDNESS alleviated, which gives the Sum of CHARITY. And how Chriftianly-foever a due proportion of well-applied Charity may be, the Author has been lately convinced, from daily ex-' perience, that it is the most uncharitable thing in the world to be too charitable.

6

Nothing could be more abfurd than to lay down particular RULES FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF SERVANTS; as the tempers and difpofitions of both Mafters and Servants are as different as their features: the Author will, neverthelefs, rifk the following general guide : Treat them as MEN; but not as I TIMATE; nor yet as MCHINES.

For although the Wretches who have forfeited their liberty, may be reduced to the Laws of Mechanifm, in the Field of War; Men, who retain one fpark of the celeftial fire, will not brook fuch treatment in the Field of Agriculture. For in a country tolerably free,

let

let Fate and Fashion fay what they will, Mankind-as Men-are nearly on an equality and in this country, how Machine-like foever a day-labourer may appear, under the immediate eye of an auftere Mafter, he is a Free-Agent, at his own Fire fide, and an Englishman, at the Ale-houfe.'

(To be concluded in our next.)

ART. II. Annals of Scotland. From the Acceflion of Robert I.. furnamed Bruce, to the Acceffion of the Houfe of Stewart. By Sir David Dalrymple. 4to. Vol. II. 12 s. 6 d. Boards. Edinburgh printed; Murray, London. 1779.

*

IN

Na former Review we announced the firft volume of the Annals of Scotland; and as the work is now completed, it claims our farther attention: We proceed, therefore, to point out its purposes and merits, and to ascertain the degree of approbation to which it is intitled.

Before the reign of Malcolm III. †, we find the hiftory of Scotland involved in obfcurity and darknefs. The moft penetrating genius would feek in vain for truth amidst the fables which deform the earlier hiftory of this nation. Hence it is, we conceive, that our learned Hiftorian has contented himfelf with dating his performance from the age and administration of Malcolm III. The period included from the acceffion of this Prince to the advancement of Robert I. exercifes his attention and ability in his firft volume. In his fecond volume he continues his narration from Robert I. to the advancement of the House of Stewart.

This field of history, so extensive in itself, and fo memorable for many important tranfactions, has been furveyed with little accuracy by former writers. John de Fordun was but imperfectly informed, and was unacquainted with the true purposes of history. John Major is almost every where fo much difpofed to trifle, that there is little in his work which deferves commendation, if we except his fpirit of liberty, and the respect he discovers for the rights of the people. Hector Boece is the moft fabulous of all hiftorians and Buchanan, who in the elegancy of his compofition may vie with Livy and Salluft, is fo careless in his matter, that we read him with diftruft, while we admire his talents.

When men of learning wifhed with impatience for a folid and inftructive work, on Scottish affairs, Sir David Dalrymple published the first volume of his Annals. The immenfe collections of Rymer were the most valuable fource of intelligence; and the ancient hiftorians of England had preferved a multitude

* Vid. Review, vol. liv. p. 491. June 1776.
Surnamed Canmore,

:

of

of memorials concerning Scotland. To dig for the treasures which were concealed in these mines, to bring them forward to obfervation, and to attend at the fame time to the communications of Scottish authors and chronicles, were matters not lefs laborious than intricate. To this task our Hiftorian has fubmitted; and while we give him the credit which is due to his induftry, we muft do him the juftice to acknowledge that his fagacity and discernment are still more worthy of praife.

It has been faid that this work is formed on the model of Henault's famous performance; but this was a mistake. Sir David Dalrymple purfues a method of his own, free from many of the imperfections which appear in that of the French author.The Prefident Henault, indeed, is uniformly inftructive, but he is uniformly dry; and his abridgment is not rendered agreeable by the arts of good writing. Sir David Dalrymple is directed in his execution by the subjects he treats. Where his matter admits not of detail or ornament he is fimple and brief; where it is inviting, he is diffuse and descriptive. He is the Annalyst and the Hiftorian by turns. Ardent to inftruct, he is difpofed to omit no topic of which he could inform himfelf. Defirous to pleafe, he is active to gather all the flowers that spring up in his way.

To chronology, which fo many modern authors affect to defpife, our Hiftorian has paid the moft exact attention. In authenticating his facts, he appeals every where to the most unexceptionable authorities: and, it must be mentioned to his honour, that the problematical parts of the Scottish story are regarded by him with that folicitude of investigation, which is never felt, or exerted, but by thofe who are paffionately devoted to the interefts of fcience and the propagation of truth. Hence it is that each of his volumes is concluded with detached and particular differtations: the critical acutenefs of which will prove alluring to the ftudious; and, if there are readers who find them tedious, it may be pronounced that they have no great taste for historical accuracy and difquifition.

To particularize what our Hiftorian has collected, under the different reigns which he describes, would be to abridge his work; but if we were to confider them in a comparative view, we fhould prefer that of Robert I. as the most instructive and entertaining. It cannot be read, indeed, without a variety of emotions, and has fomething of the charm of romance. There is a paffage in Cicero's famous epistle to Lucceius, which is wonderfully applicable to this part of the Scottish ftory. "Ordo ipfe annalium mediocriter nos retinet, quafi enumeratione faftorum. At viri fæpe excellentis ancipites varijque cafus habent admirationem, exfpe&tationem, lætitiam, moleftiam, fpem, timorem: fi vero exitu notabili concluduntur, expletur animus

4

jucun

[ocr errors][merged small]

jucundiffima lectionis voluptate*.” The life of Robert I. feems even to be an excellent fubject for an Epic poem. Such a work might be intitled, "The Independency of Scotland reftored." The poem might open at the time when all Scotland had acknowledged Edward I. as their fovereign. The death of Comyn might then be defcribed, and the coronation of Robert I. The difafters and viciffitudes of fortune which attended this Prince might next engage the attention of the poet. He might then dwell on the battle of Bannockburn †, detail the continuation of the war, and mark the different methods which were taken, on the one hand, for overturning and, on the other, for fupporting the Scottish government. At length he would arrive at the peace of Northampton, and at the death of Robert I. who died in the full poffeffion of a kingdom united and independent, which, in the beginning of his reign, was torn by factions, and fubject to England.

Another remark prefents itself to us with regard to Robert I. Scotfmen, while they extol this illuftrious man as the deliverer of their nation, and overleap all the boundaries of panegyric, seem to think that the fine things they utter are applied to a native of Scotland. It is true, notwithstanding, that this diftinguished warrior and statesman was an ENGLISHMAN. The evidence of this fact is to be found in different places of the work now before us. The progenitors of Robert I. were Anglo-Norman lords who had fettled in Yorkshire. There they lived and died; and the connexion which this Prince had with Scotland was chiefly by his mother, the Countess of Carrick.

Amidst the praise which this performance is intitled to from our juftice and candour, we cannot but remark, to its advantage, the perfpicuity and precifion with which the Hiftorian has every where expreffed himfelf. To deep inquiry, and to real learning, he adds the greateft diftinctness of ideas, and the graces of language. He admits his readers into the knowledge of characters rather by the art of his narrative, and the felection of circumftances, than by laboured and fplendid portraits. We catch as we read the manners of the times; and that the current of his ftory may not be difagreeably interrupted, he has given many notes, in which he corrects the errors of preceding authors, and difplays a lettered labour, and an engaging ingenuity.

1

For the entertainment of our Readers, we shall here felect the Author's fhort and interefting account of the negociations

*Cic. Epift. ad diverfos, lib. v. ep. 12,

+ Of this famous battle, fee a circumftantial account in our Review for July lat, p. 49.

REV. Mar. 1779.

O

of

« VorigeDoorgaan »