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It is well known to those who have examined the state of other countries, that the vineyards of France are more than equivalent to the mines of America; and that one great use of Indian gold, and Peruvian silver, is to procure the wines of Champaigne and Burgundy. The advantage is indeed always rising on the side of France, who will certainly have wines, when Spain, by a thousand natural or accidental causes, may want silver. But surely the valleys of England have more certain stores of wealth. Wines are chosen by caprice; the products of France have not always been equally esteemed; but there never was any age, or people, that reckoned bread among superfluities, when once it was known. The price of wheat aud bar. ley suffers not any variation, but what is caused by the uncertainty of seasons.
I áin far from intending to persuade my country, men to quit all other employments for that of manuring the ground. I mean only to prove, that we have, at home, all that we can want, and that there, fore we need feel no great anxiety about the schemes of other nations for improving their arts, or ex, tending their traffick. But there is no necessity to infer, that we should cease from commerce, before the revolution of things shall transfer it to some other regions! Such vicissitudes the world has often seen; and therefore such we have reason to expect. We hear many clamours of declining trade, which are not, in my opinion, always true; and many imputations of that decline to governours and ministers, which may be sometimes just, and sometimes calumnious. But it is foolish to ima
gine, that any care or policy can keep commerce at a stand, which almost every nation has enjoyed and lost, and which we must expect to lose as we have long enjoyed it.
There is some danger, lest our neglect of Agriculture should hasten its departure. Our industry has for many ages been employed in destroying the woods which our ancestors have planted. It is well known that commerce is carried on by ships. and that ships are built out of trees; and therefore, when I travel over naked plains, to which tradition has preserved the name of forests, or see hills arising on either hand, barren and useless, I cannot forbear to wonder, how that commerce, of which we promise ourselves the perpetuity, shall be continued by our descendants; nor can restrain a sigh, when I think on the time, a time at no great distance, when our neighbours may deprive us of our naval influence, by refusing us their timber.
By Agriculture only can commerce be perpetuated; and by Agriculture alone can we live in plenty without intercourse with other nations. This, therefore, is the great art, which every government ought to protect, every proprietor of lands to practise, and every inquirer into nature to improve.
SON of Perseverance, whoever thou art, whose
curiosity has led thee hither, read and be wise. He that now calls upon thee is Theodore, the Hermit of Teneriffe, who in the fifty-seventh year of his retreat left this instruction to mankind, lest his solitary hours should be spent in vain.
I was once what thou art now, a groveller on the earth, and a gazer at the sky; I trafficked and heaped wealth together, I loved and was favoured, I wore the robe of honour, and heard the musick of adulation ; I was ambitious, and rose to greatness; I was unhappy, and retired. I sought for some time what I at length found here, a place where all real wants might be easily supplied, and where I might not be under the necessity of purchasing the assistance of men by the toleration of their follies. Here I saw fruits and herbs and water, and here determined to wait the hand of death, which I hope, when at last it comes, will fall lightly upon me.
Forty-eight years had I now passed in forgetfulness of all mortal cares, and without any inclination
to wander farther than the necessity of procuring sustenance required; but as I stood one day behold. ing the rock that overhangs my cell, I found in myself a desire to climb it; and when I was on its top, was in the same manner determined to scale the next, till by degrees I conceived a wish to view the summit of the mountain, at the foot of which I had so long resided. This motion of my thoughts I endeavoured to suppress, not because it appeared criminal, but because it was new; and all change not evidently for the better, alarms a mind taught by experience to distrust itself. I was often afraid that my heart was deceiving me, that my impatience of confinement arose from some earthly passion, and that my ardour to survey the works of nature was only a hidden longing to mingle once again in the scenes of life. I therefore endeavoured to settle
my thoughts into their former state, but found their distraction every day greater. I was always reproaching myself with the want of happiness within my reach, and at last began to question whether it was not laziness rather than caution that restrained me from climbing to the summit of Teneriffe.
I rose therefore before the day, and began my journey up the steep of the mountain; but I had not advanced far, old as I was and burthened with
provisions, when the day began to shine upon me; the declivities grew more precipitous, and the sand slided from beneath my feet; at last, fainting with labour, I arrived at a small plain almost inclosed by rocks, and open only to the east. I sat down to rest awhile, in full persuasion, that when I had recovered my strength I should proceed on my de sign; but when once I had tasted ease, I found many reasons against disturbing it. The branches spread a shade over my head, and the gales of spring wafted odours to my bosom.
As I sat thus, forming alternately excuses for de, lay, and resolutions to go forward, an irresistible heaviness suddenly surprised me; I laid my
head upon the bank, and resigned myself to sleep: when methought I heard the sound as of the flight of eagles, and a being of more than human dig. nity stood before me. While I was deliberating how to address him, he took me by the hand with an air of kindness, and asked me solemnly, but without severity, “ Theodore, whither art thou “ going ?” “ I am climbing," answered I, “ to the
top of the mountain, to enjoy a more extensive
prospect of the works of nature.” “ Attend “ first, said he, to the prospect which this place "affords, and what thou dost not understand I will
explain. I am one of the benevolent beings who 66 watch over the children of the dust, to preserve “ them from those evils which will not ultimately “ terminate in good, and which they do not, by “ their own faults, bring upon themselves. Look " round therefore without fear: observe, contem
plate, and be instructed.”
Encouraged by this assurance, I looked and beheld a mountain higher than Teneriffe, to the summit of which the human eye could never reach : when I had tired myself with gazing upon its height, I turned my eyes towards its foot, which I could easily discover, but was amazed to find it without foundation, and placed inconceivably in emptiness and darkness. Thus I stood terrified and confused;