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against the attempts of the common enemy and oppressor? Is the near prospect of all the blessings of peace welcome and desirable to thee? and wilt thou not bear a tender regard to all those who have lost their health and their limbs, in the rough service of war, to secure these blessings to thee? Canst thou see any one of them lie by the way, as it were, stripped, and wounded, and half dead, and yet pass by on the other side, without doing as much for thy friend as that good Samaritan did for his enemy, when he had compassion on him, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him?
Have thy reasoning faculties been eclipsed at any time by some accidental stroke? by the mad joys of wine, or the excess of religious melancholy? by a fit of apoplexy, or the rage of a burning fever? and hast thou, upon thy recovery, been made sensible to what a wretched state that calamity reduced thee? and what a sad spectacle, to all thy friends and acquaintance, it rendered thee? And shall not this affliction, which thou hast felt thyself, or perhaps observed in others, who were near and dear to thee, shall it not lead thee to commiserate all those who labour under a settled distraction? who are shut out from all the pleasures and advantages of human commerce, and even degraded from the rank of reasonable creatures? Wilt thou not make their case thine? and take pity upon them, who cannot take pity upon themselves? Wilt thou not contribute, to the best of thy power, towards restoring the defaced image of God upon their souls; or, if that cannot be
done, towards supporting them, for a while, under a charitable confinement, where human nature may be rescued from that contempt to which such objects expose it?
Once more. Hast thou suffered at any time by vagabonds and pilferers? hath the knowledge or opinion of thy wealth exposed thee to the attempts of more dangerous villains? Have thy unquiet slumbers been interrupted by the apprehension of nightly assaults, such as have terrified, and perhaps ruined some of thy unfortunate neighbours? Learn from hence duly to esteem and promote those useful charities, which remove such pests of human society into prisons and workhouses, and train up youth in the ways of diligence, who would otherwise take the same desperate courses: which reform the stubborn by correction, and the idle by hard labour; and would, if carried to that perfection of which they are capable, go a great way towards making life more comfortable, and property itself more valuable. Atterbury.
OF OUR OBLIGATIONS TO THE COUNTRY AND
THERON, a man of wealth and figure, but unacquainted with philosophic science, sat in the midst of his friends of both sexes in a stately room with rich variety of furniture. Among other conversation, Theron was complaining that he had heard it often said, how much we were all indebted to the country and the plough; but, for his part, 'he knew no obligation that we had to that low rank of mankind, whose life is taken up in the fields,
the woods, and the meadows, but that they paid their rents well, that the gentlemen might live at their ease.'
Crito, a philosopher present, was pleased to seize on this occasion, and entertained the audience with a surprising lecture of philosophy.
'Permit me, Theron,' said he, to be an advocate for the peasant, and I can draw up a long account of particulars for which you are indebted to the field and the forest, and to the men that cultivate the ground, and are engaged in rural business. Look around you on all the elegant furniture of the room, survey your own clothing, cast your eyes on all the splendid array of the ladies, and you will find that except a few glittering stones, and a little gold and silver, which was dug out of the bowels of the earth, you can scarcely see any thing that was not once growing green upon the ground, through the various labours of the planter and the ploughman.
Whence came the floor you tread on, part whereof is inlaid with wood of different colours? whence these fair pannels of wainscot, and the cornice that encompasses and adorns the room? whence this lofty roof of cedar, and the carved ornaments of it? Are they not all the spoils of the trees of the forest? were not these once in the verdant standards of the grove or the mountain?
'What are your hangings of gay tapestry? Are they not owing to the fleece of the sheep, which borrowed their nourishment from the grass of the meadows? Thus, the finery of your parlour once was grass; and should you favour me with a turn into your bedchamber, I could show you that the curtains, and the linen, and the costly coverings
where you take your nightly repose, were some years ago all growing in the field.
'Is not the hair of camels a part of the materials which compose those rich curtains that hang down by the window, and the easy chairs which accommodate your friends? And if you think a little, you will find, that camels with their hair were made of grass, as well as the sheep and their wool. I confess the chimney and the coals, with the implements of the hearth, the brass and iron, were dug out of the ground from their beds of different kinds, and you must go below the surface of the earth to fetch them: but what think you of those nice tables of mosaic work? They confess the forest their parent.
'What are the books which lie in the window, and the little implements of paper and wax, pens, and wafers, which I presume may be found in the scrutoire? And may I not add to these, that inch of wax-candle, which stands ready to seal a letter, or perhaps to light a pipe? You must grant they have all the same origin, they were once mere vegetables. Paper and books owe their being to the tatters of linen, which was woven of the threads of flax or hemp; the pasteboard covers are composed of paper; and the leather is the skin of the calf, that drew its life and sustenance from the meadows. The pen that you write with was plucked from the wings of the goose, which lives upon the grass of the common: the inkhorn was borrowed from the front of the grazing ox; the wafer is made of the paste of bread-corn; the sealing-wax is said to be formed chiefly of the gum of a tree; and the wax for the candle was plun
dered from the bee, who stole it out of a thousand flowers.
'Permit me, ladies,' said the philosopher, 'to mention your dress; too nice a subject indeed for a scholar to pretend any skill in: but I persuade myself your candour will not resent my naming the rich materials, since I leave those more important points, the fashion and the shape, to be decided entirely by your superior skill. Shall I inquire then, who gave Eliza the silken habit which she wears? Did she not borrow it from the worm that spun those shining threads? and whence did the worm borrow it, but from the leaves of the mulberry-tree, which was planted and nourished for this purpose by the country swain? May I ask again, how came Emily by those ornaments of fine linen which she is pleased to appear in, and the costly lace of Flanders that surrounds it? Was it not all made of the stalks of flax that grew up in the field like other vegetables? And are not the finest of your muslins owing to the Indian cotton-tree? Nor can you tell me, Theron, one upper garment you have, whether coat, cloak, or night-gown, from your shoulders to your very feet, as rich and as new as you think it, which the sheep, or the poor silk-worm, had not worn before you. It is certain the beaver bore your hat on his skin: that soft fur was his covering before it was yours; and the materials of your very shoes, both the upper part and the soles of them, covered the calf or the heifer before they were put on your feet; all this was grass at first, for all the animal world owes its being to vegetables.'
When Crito had given them leave to muse a