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gence, or that are engaged in occupations which minister only to curiosity, or luxurious gratification *; a vast quantity of surface that is now consumed by superfluous horses, might be converted to the growth of corn, or the pasturing of those flocks and herds which contribute so largely to our clothing and sustenance; and such a proportionate tax might be laid on property, as would confine it within limits more consistent with the general welfare, and produce a present sensible relief to the national burdens. The utility of these or similar measures must be easily discerned; and there wants nothing but public spirit both to discern and to carry them into execution. But this want is all.
-It is for want of this, that a great nation may proceed from one excess to another,
: * “ Perhaps two-thirds of the manufactures of Eng. land are employed upon articles of confessed luxury, ornament, or splendor; in the superfluous embellishment of some articles which are useful in their kind, or upon others which have no conceivable use or value, but what is founded in caprice or fashion.” . . PALEY's Mor. and Pol. Phil. vol. ii. p. 369.
till at length it arrive at a period when it can neither endure its diseases nor their remedies *. .
* “ Labente paulatim disciplinâ, velut desident esprimò mores-deinde magis magisque lapsi—tum ire cæperint præcipites—donce ad hæc tempora, quibus nec vitia nostra, nec remedia pati possumus, perventum est." Lip. Hist. lib. 1. initio.
In which it is considered, how far the favour:
able Aspect of Wealth on the liberal Arts and Sciences, may be urged in Abatement of what has been advanced in the last Section.
It may probably here be alleged, that it is hardly fair to insist on the allowed tendency of wealth to produce pride, dissipa tion, and sensual indulgence, with an in. numerable train of low and vicious arts; and not to consider, on the other side, its happier tendency to promote those more liberal arts and sciences, which refine the taste, enlarge the understanding, and improve the moral character. Let us then enquire, for a moment, into the force of this allegation
That the fine arts cannot flourish without the fostering band of riches is granted. Men, till they are provided with the neces. saries and the principal conveniences of life,
are not disposed to look out for its elegances; and what meets with little encouragement can make but little progress. No great artist was ever produced among a horde of savages, nor during that first period of a community when it was struggling for establishment.. .. .
It is true also, that, by cultivating the arts in question, a just and quick perception of natural fitness and proportion, of harmony and beauty, is formed; nor can it be denied, that natural excellence bears some analogy to moral, and will suggest it to a mind duly disposed; or, if you please, that they are species under the same genus of ORder*; the one consisting in a just arrangement and harmony of lines and figures, the other of human dispositions and actions. But then, let it be remembered, that these are species so remote from each other, that men the most exquisitely alive to artificial and natural beauty, are often insensible to the charms of true virtue, which, if rightly
: * * Definitio brevis et vera virtutis, ordo est amoris.” . ..nic.
ij. ST. AUSTIN. :
discerned, would, according to a sentiment of Plato, kindle in the soul an incredible delight and admiration.
Of this little sympathy which subsists between virtue and the fine arts, we have a striking example in the ancient Greeks, who, at the very period when they were most highly distinguished for the latter, are known to have been so entirely lost to a just moral sense, as to expose their : children, lend out their wives, and to indulge unnatural lusts; and at Corinth, in particular, à temple is said to have been erected to Venus, with more than a thousand courtezans there deyoted to her service*. Which shows that the corruption of their morals kept at least equal pace with their polite accomplishments; and that virtue and the fine arts are not so closely allied as some would fondly imagine t:...
* “Dans aucune ville on ne porta si loin les ouvrages de l'art.-Elle erigea un temple à Venus, où plus de mille courtesanes furent consacrées."
MONTESQ. Esp. des loix. Liv. xxi. ch. 7. 't Thus Lord Shaftesbury speaks of the Arts and Virtues as “ mutually friendly ;" and of the “science