« ElőzőTovább »
Of this kind I cannot forbear the mention of two Greek inscriptions ; one upon. a man whose, writings are well known, the other upon a person whose
is preserved only in her Epitaph, who both lived in slavery, the most calamitous estate in human life ;
Zwo ijen aglo 68 od pora tw owati orang
Και τω σωματι νυν ευρεν ελευθεριην
ZOSIMA, quæ solo fuit olim corpore serva,
Corpore nunc etiam libera facta fuit.
** ZOSIMA, who in her life could only have her body
enslaved, now finds her body likewise set at liberty."
It is impossible to read this EPITAPH without being animated to bear the evils of life with constancy, and to support the dignity of human nature under the most pressing afflictions, both by the example of the heroine, whose grave we behold, and the prospect of that state in which, to use the language of the inspired writers, “ The poor cease from their labours, and the weary be at rest.'
The other is upon Epictetus, the Stoic philosopher ;
Alla@ETIKTATO a svouens, scale o come cemeting;
Servus EPICTETUS, muitilatus corpore vixz
Pauperieque Irus, curaque prima Demo
« Eerctetus, who lies here, was a slave and a cripple, poor as
'the beggar in the proverb, and the favorite of Heaven."
In this distich is comprised the noblest panegyric, and the most important instruction. We may learn from it, that virtue is impracticable in no condition, since Epictetus could recommend himself to the regard of Heaven, amidst the temptations of poverty and slavery; slavery, which has always been found so destructive to virtue, that in many languages a slave and a thief are expressed by the same word. And we may be likewise admonished by it, not to lay any stress on a man's outward circumstances, in making an estimate of his real value, since Epictetus the beggar, the cripple, and the slave, was the favorite of Heaven,
STATE OF AFFAIRS IN MDCCLVI.*
HE time is now come in which every Englishmari expects to be informed of the national affairs, and in which he has a right to have that expectation gratified. For whatever may be urged by ministers, or those whom vanity or interest make the followers of ministers, concerning the necessity of confidence in our governors, and the presumption of prying with profane eyes into the recesses of policy, it is evident, that this reverence can be claimed only by counsels yet unexecuted, and projects suspended in deliberation. But when a design has ended in miscarriage or success, when every eye and every ear is witness to general discontent, or general satisfaction,
* Published first in the Literary Magazine, No. IV: from July 15, to August 15, 1756. This periodical work was published by Richardson in Paternoster Row, but was discontinued about two years after. Dr. Johnson wrote many articles, which have been enumerated by Mr. Boswell, and there are others which I should be inclined to attribute to him from intergal evidence. VOL. II.
it is then a proper time to disentangle confusion, and illustrate obscurity, to show by what causes every event was produced, and in what effects it is likely to terminate ; to lay down with distinct particularity what rumor always huddles in general exclamations, or perplexes by undigested narratives; to show whence happi. ness or calamity is derived, and whence it may be ex. pected ; and honestly to lay before the people what inquiry can gather of the past, and conjecture can estimate of the future.
The general subject of the present war is sufficiently known. It is allowed on both sides, that hostilities began in America, and that the French and English quarrel. led about the boundaries of their settlements, about grounds and rivers to which, I am afraid, neither can show any other right than that of power, and which neither can occupy but by usurpation, and the dispossession of the natural lords and original inhabitants. Such is the contest, that no honest man can heartily wish success to
It may indeed be alleged, that the Indians have granted large tracts of land both to one and the other ; but these grants can add little to the validity of our titles, till it be experienced how they were obtained ; for if they were extorted by violence, or induced by fraud ; by threats, which the miseries of other nations had shown not to be vain, or by promises of which no performance was ever intended, what are they but new modes of usurpation, but new instances of cruelty and treachery?
And indeed what but false hope or resistless terror can prevail upon a weaker nation to invite a stronger into
their country, to give their lands to strangers whom no affinity of manners, or similitude of opinion, can be said to recommend, to permit them to build towns from which the natives are excluded, to raise fortresses by which they are intimidated, to settle themselves with such strength, that they cannot afterwards be expelled, but are for ever to remain the masters of the original inhabitants, the dictators of their conduct, and the arbiters of their fate ?
When we see men acting thus against the precepts of reason, and the instincts of nature, we cannot hesitate to determine, that by some means or other they were debarred from choice ; that they were lured or frighted into compliance ; that they either granted only what they found impossible to keep, or expected advantages upon the faith of their new inmates, which there was no purpose to confer upon them. It cannot be said, that the Indians originally invited us to their coasts ; we went uncalled and unexpected to nations who had no imagination that the earth contained any inhabitants so distant and so different from themselves. We astonished them with our ships, with our arms, and with our general superiority. They yielded to us as to beings of another and higher race, sent among them from some unknown regions, with power which naked Indians could not resist, and which they were therefore, by every act of humility, to propitiate, that they, who could so easily destroy, might be induced to spare.
To this influence, and to this only, are to be attributed all the cessions and submissions of the Indian princes, if indeed any such cessions were ever made, of which