Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

contains a receipt for a debt, that is taxed also.-He takes up a news-paper, that is taxed also ; he wishes to insert an advertise. ment, but that he is taxed for ; and if he wilhes to have an al. manack, that also is taxed. The indenture with which he biods an apprentice is taxed-the settlement he makes to a mistress is taxed-his marriage deeds are taxed and he can neither pay a debt, nor receive a debt, without being taxed.

After dinner, tea, coffee, or chocolate, make their appear. ance, all taxed, with the sugar, water, &c, as was observed before. He fits down to write, but the paper is taxed-he smokes a pipe, but the tobacco is taxed--and when he fits down to supper, every article of the drinking kind is heavily taxed. He now goes to bed, and begets children ; but he is taxed for their birth, at the rate of 3d. a head-60 matter, perhaps, as there are bu: few men who run up a very long score on this account ; but I ought to have mentioned that he is likewile taxed for the privilege of going to bed, that is, of marriage ; and, to close all, when grim death takes him off, he must pay that too, the only tax, perhaps, which the fhuffling of artful men cannot evade.

Thus, Sir, have I, although perhaps in an imperfect degree, painted the situation of a free Britor.-I need not add my reHections by way of inference. God knows what they will tax next! Going to church would hardly pay any thing, and a tax on absentees from church would affect our great men, who are known to have a mortal aversion to taxes.- A tax on prostitutes has been proposed; but, if the word prostitute be taken in its full meaning, I am afraid the tax would be opposed, as tending to clog the wheels of government.

Your insertion of this, Sir, may probably procure you the farther correspondence of,

SIR,
Your most obedient,

TRIBUTARIU S.
December 8, 1783. .

An ESSAY on the IMPROVEMENT OF TIME. T HE power of looking forward into futurity, though it is

1 the distinguishing mark of reason, and sufficiently proves the immortality of the soul, yet, if misapplied or misused, will ferve only to flatter the imagination, and mifead the mind inco. a mazy track of errors, and embitter the few comforts allotted to human life.

a mazy

It is a misfortune incident to all men, more efpecially to peo. ple of volatile dispositions, that they know not how to enjoy the present hour. The mind of man is perpetually planning out schemes of future happiness, and contemplating distant prospects of pleasure, which he flatters himself he is one day to pofless, instead of endeavouring to enjoy the present with solid satisfac. tion. This unhappy disposition, this fickleness of mind, makes us live in a continual state of uneasy expectation ; for when we have gained any thing which we have long wilhed for, when the tardy revolation of time has brought to us what we have long im patiently expected, we foon grow cool with possession, and look with indifference upon that which so lately engaged our at. tention, and was the sole object of our hopes. Like children, we long for a bauble ; no sooner have we got it, but we are tired, and long for another, more pleased with the gratification of our wayward humours, than with the possession of the thing -We wanted : new objects, new pleasures, then strike our ima. ginations ; these we pursue with the same ardour; these we long for with the same impatience, and possess them with the same disappointment and disfatisfaction.

One would imagine chat so many fruitless endeavours, lo many repeated disappointments, would effe&tually cure us of the folly of indulging our minds in the fond expectation of future felicity ; that we thould at last be prevailed upon to sit down contented in our respective stations, to enjoy the blessings that are set before us, and to make the most of that only portion of time which we can with any certainty call our own ; yet such is the imperfection of our nature, such the infatuation of our minds, that in spite of the most convincing demonstrations of the folly of building upon futurity, though we see people unexpectedly sink into the grave, who were engaged in the same eager pursuits with ourselves, we still continue to persevere in the fond de. lusion ; we ftill pursue, a phantom that mocks us at a distance, but always eludes our grasp. · Would every man, instead of indulging vain and uncertain expectations, inftead of forming romantic schemes of visionary happiness, employ his thoughts, and the faculties of his mind, in itudying how he may best improve the present hour, he would find solid advantages resulting from his conduct, and be enabled to cast a retrospective eye upon past life with pleasure and self-fatisfaction. Happiness, as much as our nature will admit of, it is in every man's power to obtain ; it does not require a great genius, or eminent abilities, to render life agree. able ; on the contrary, we often see great wits more miserable and unhappy than even those of inferior or meaner abilities. This must be afcribed as well to their utter negligence of, and inattention to, the duties of religion and christianity, as to the volatility of their dispofitions, and uncommon vigoar of ima. gination and fancy, which makes them conftantly languish after novelties, and as constantly leaves their wishes unsatisfied and disappointed. But how fatal a blindness, how perverse a foily it is, not to seize on the present opportunity of improving our time to the best advantage, while it is yet in our power, confi. dering that it flies from us every moment, and is never to return again for a second trial of our obedience !-When we ftand on the brink of the grave, we see things as they really are, without any mask or falle colouring. At that awful period, power will have lost its strength to protect, riches their value to felieve, knowledge its voice to inftruct, and pleasures their charms to allure ; so that the power which was not before ex. erted to defend the helpless, the wealth which never fed the poor, the knowledge which never persuaded to virtue, and ebe pleasures which arofe from vice, were wretchedly emploved, ar madly pursued, and, at the gloomy hour of death, can neither give hope, peace, nor comfort.

able ;

How sweet, on the other hand, is the reflection of those whore time has been employed to good purpose, accorcing to their ca. pacities and stations in the world ! How happy is the prospect of the great, whose power defended the oppressed ; of the rich, whose wealth relieved the indigent, and raised meri: from dif tress; of the learned, whose knowledge diffused a love of vir tue and piety ; and of every person who did all the good, and prevented all the evil in his power! Their time and their ta. Jents were wifily employed. Death doch not approach then like the king of terrors, but like a friend, who comes to releak them from the vanity and forrows of the world, and to charm their minds with a prospect of that everlasting peace and joy, of which they will soon be put in poffeflion.

À RE F L E C TI ON. INGRATITUDE may justly be ranked with the greateit I vices: almost every one is heard to complain of it ; liede considering, that if all those who exclaim again it it were free from it themselves, no such a fin could flourith amongit us.

PHILAGATHUS, ,Bristol, November 24, 1783. .

Anecdote of two Spanish Officers at the Siege of Gibraltar.
U THEN the English went on board a Spanih ship to save

V their vanquished enemy from the flames, two Spanilla officers were found fitting at a table, on which had been placed a leg of matton and bottle of wine, but, peither of them touched. Before them was a crucifix, and each held in his hand a large lighted wax candle, with his eyes fixed earnestly on the crucifix, Our men very earnestly conjured them to make haste on deck, to fall into the boat, and fave their lives. The Spaniards refused to fir, declaring they would not survive the loss of the ship and the disasters of that day. They perfevered, notwithstanding some gentle violence, in their resolution. Our sailors had not rime to perift in thcir importunities. They retreated into the boats with all that were willing, and that they were able to aflift, in making their escape with them, and soon after the Spanish vessel blew up.

This anecdote is taken from the mouth of a young officer, now in London, who commanded the paney that went on board the Spanish fhip, and was ad eye witness of in

Anecdote of the late Sir William Johnson, Superintendant of

Indian Affairs in America.

COON after fir William had been appointed superintendant

to the above place, he wrote to England for some suits of clothes, richly laced. When they arrived at fir William's, Hendrick, king of the Five Nations of Mohawks, was present, and particularly admired them, but without saying any thing at that time to fir William. In a few days Hendrick called on fir William, and acquainted him that he had had a dream. On fir William's enquiring what it was, he told him that he had dreamed that he had given him one of those fine suits which he had lately received from over the great water. Sir William took the hint, and immediately presented him with one of the richest suits, Hendrick, highly pleased with the generosity of fir William, retired. Sir William, some time after chis, happening to be in company with Hendrick, told him that he had also had a dream. Hendrick being very folicitous to know what it was, fir William informed him he had dreamed that he (Hendrick) had made him a present of a particular tract of land (the most valuable on the Mohawk river) of about 5000 acres. Hendrick presented him with the land immediately, with this ihrewd remark: « Now, fir William, I will never dream with you again ; you VOLI II. 50.

4C

dream

dream too hard for me.”—The above tract of land is called to this hour “ Sir William Johnson's Dreaming Land.”

ANECDOTE OF LORD NORTH.

A Person, who by misfortunes in life had been reduced to very

a low circumstances, and being at a loss to know how to provide for his familv, took it into his head at last to wait on lord North, and ask for a place. The usual answer of “ I have no vacancy," was given him ; however, this did not prevent hin from calling and waiting, and calling and waiting again and again. Upon which his lordship sent for him up, and, with anger, afked him, what could induce him to behave in so impgdent and unprecedented a manner? My lord, that I am impi. dent, I do not deny, for which I hope my necessity will plead my excuse ; but that I am so without a precedent, I do deny, as this will prove." He then put the following into his lordship's hands : “ As prince Maurice was once at dinner, in came a huge mastiff, and took fanctuary under the table. The page beat him out of the room ; but for all that Lion (for so he was called) came punctually the next day, and continued his vifits, though they still continued the fame treatment to him. At last the prince ordered them to beat him no more, and made much of him. From this time the mastiff became a perfect courtier, fol. lowed the prince wherever he went, lay all night at his chainber door, and ran by the coach-fide as duly as one of his lacqueys. · In short, he so infinuated himself into his master's favour, that when he dicd he left him a pension.”—This pleased his lordihip fo well, that in a day or two after he gave the supplicator a very comfortable birth in the customs,

· Pothe PRINTER of the WEEKLY ENTERTAINER. : SIR,

AGREEABLE to the request of Mr. Quant, I have endea.

voured to translate the Latin epitaph in Hinton church, inserted September 15.

. I am, fir,
.' Your conftant reader, &c.

TASSO. Bristol, November 22, 1783.

« ElőzőTovább »