Page images

posed, and by their importunities reconciled them to the usurpations of the Church of Rome. Nay, it was this vicious zeal which gave a remarkable check to the first progress of Christianity, as we find it recorded by a sacred historian in the following passage, which I shall leave to the consideration of my female readers. “But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.'

No. 33. FRIDAY, APRIL 13.

Nulli adversus magistratus ac reges gratiores sunt; nec immerito; nullis enim plus preestant quam quibus frui tranquillo otio licet. Itaque hi quibus ad propositum bene vivendi confert securitas publica, necesse est auctorem hujus boni ut parentem colant.

SESEC. Ep. 73.

We find by our public papers, the university of Dublin have lately presented to the Prince of Wales, in a most humble and dutiful manner, their diploma for constituting his Royal Highness chancellor of that learned body; and that the prince received this their offer with the goodness and condescension which is natural to his illustrious house. As the college of Dublin have been long famous for their great learning, they have now given us an instance of their good sense; and it is with pleasure that we find such a disposition in this famous nursery of letters to propagate sound principles, and to act, in its 'proper sphere, for the honour and dignity of the royal family. We hope that. such an example will have its influence on other societies of the same nature; and cannot but rejoice to see the heir of Great Britain vouchsafing to patronise, in so peculiar a manner, that noble seminary, which is, perhaps, at this time training up such persons as may hereafter be ornaments to his reign.

When men of learning are acted thus by a knowledge of the Forld as well as of books, and shew that their studies naturally inspire them with a love to their king and country; they give a reputation to literature, and convince the world of its usefulness. But when arts and sciences are so perverted, as to dispose men to act in contradiction to the rest of the community, and to set op for a kind of separate republic among themselves, they draw upon them the indignation of the wise, and the contempt of the izborant.

It has, indeed, been observed, that persons who are very mich esteemed for their knowledge and ingenuity in their private characters, have acted like strangers to mankind, and to the dictates of right reason, when joined together in a body. Like several chemical waters, that are each of them clear and transparent when separate, but ferment into a thick troubled liquor when they are mixed in the same vial.

There is a piece of mythology which bears very hard upon learned men, and which I shall here relate, rather for the delicacy of the satire, than for the justness of the moral. When the city of Athens was finished, we are told that Neptune and Mi. Derta presented themselves as candidates for the guardianship of the place. The Athenians, after a full debate upon the matter, came to an election, and made choice of Minerva. Upon which Neptune, who very much resented the indignity, upbraided them with their stupidity and ignorance, that a maritime town should reject the patronage of him who was the god of the seas, and could defend them against all the attacks of their enemies. He concluded with a curse upon the inhabitants, which was to stick to them and their posterity, namely, 'that they should be all fools.' When Minerva, their tutelary goddess, who presides over arts and sciences, came among them to receive the honour they had conferred upon her, they made heavy pomplaints of the curse


which Neptune had laid upon the city, and begged her, if possible, to take it off. But she told them it was not in her power, for that one deity could not reverse the act of another. "However,' said she, 'I may alleviate the curse which I cannot remove: it is not possible for me to hinder you from being fools, but I will take care that you shall be learned.'

There is nothing which bodies of learned men should be more careful of, than, by all due methods, to cultivate the favour of the great and powerful. The indulgence of a prince is absolutely necessary to the propagation, the defence, the honour, and support of learning. It naturally creates in men's minds an ambition to distinguish themselves by letters, and multiplies the number of those who are dedicated to the pursuits of knowledge. It protects them against the violence of brutal men; and gives them opportunities to pursue their studies in a state of peace and tranquillity. It puts the learned in countenance, and gives them a place among the fashionable part of mankind. It distributes rewards, and encourages speculative persons, who have neither opportunity nor a turn of mind to increase their own fortunes, with all the incentives of place, profit, and preferment. On the contrary, nothing is in itself so pernicious to communities of learned men, nor more apprehended by those that wish them well, than the displeasure of their prince, which those may justly expect to feel, who would make use of his favour to his own prejudice, and put in practice all the methods that lie within their power to vilify his person, and distress his government. In both these cases, a learned body is in a more particular manner ex. posed to the influence of their king, as described by the wisest of men, 'The wrath of a king is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as the dew upon the grass.

We find in our English histories, that the Empress Matilda (who was the great ancestor of his present Majesty, and whose

grand-daughter of the same name has a place upon several of the Hanover medals), was particularly favoured by the university of Oxford, and defended in that place, when most parts of the king. dom had revolted against her. Nor is it to be questioned, but an university so famous for learning and sound knowledge, will shew the same zeal for her illustrious descendant, as they will every day discern his Majesty's royal virtues, through those prejudices which have been raised in their minds by artful and designing men. It is with much pleasure we see this great fountain of learning alrcady beginning to run clear, and recovering its natural purity and brightness. None can imagine that a community which is taxed by the worst of its enemies, only for over-straining the notions of loyalty even to bad princcs, will fall short of a due allegiance to the best.

When this happy temper of mind is fully established among them, we may justly hope to see the largest share of his Majes. ty's favours fall upon that university, which is the greatest, and upon all accounts the most considerable, not only in his dominions, but in all Europe.

I shall conclude this paper with a quotation out of Cambden's History of Queen Elizabeth, who, after having described that queen’s reception at Oxford, gives an account of the speech which she made to them at her departure; concluding with a piece of advice to that university. Her counsel was, " That they would first serve God, not after the curiosity of some, but according to the laws of God and the laud; that they would not go before the laws, but follow them; nor dispute whether better might be prescribed, but keep those prescribed already; obey their superiors; and, lastly, embrace one another in brotherly piety and concord.'

[blocks in formation]

It is very justly, as well as frequently observed, that if our nation be ever ruined, it must be by itself. The parties and divisions which reign among us may several ways bring destruction upon our country, at the same time that our united force would be sufficient to secure us against all the attempts of a foreign enemy. Whatever expedients, therefore, can be found to allay those heats and animosities, which break us into different factions and interests, cannot but be useful to the public, and highly tend to its safety, strength, and reputation.

This dangerous dissension among us discovers itself in all the most indifferent circumstances of life. We keep it up, and cherish it with as much pains, as if it were a kind of national blessing. It insinuates itself into all our discourses, mixes in our parties of pleasure, las a share in our diversions, and is an ingredient in most of our públic entertainments.

I was, not long ago, at the play called Sir Courtly Nice, · where, to the eternal reproach of good sense, I found the whole

audience had very gravely ranged themselves into two parties, under Hot-head and Testimony. Hot-head was the applauded hero of the tories, and Testimony no less the favourite of the whigs. Each party followed their champion. It was wonderful to see so polite an assembly distinguishing themselves by such extraordinary representatives, and avowing their principles as conformable either to the zeal of Hot-head, or the moderation of Testimony. Thus the two parts which were designed to expose the faults of both sides, and were accordingly received by our ancestors in King Charles the second's reign, meet with a kind of sanction from the applauses which are respectively bestowed on

« PreviousContinue »