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That degree of .poverty which includes not in it, the pinching want of real necessaries, wounds the mind alone : and it often deeply wounds the minds of those who have fallen from easy and plentiful circumstances. To them it is an evil indeed. A comparison of the past with the present, renders the present irksome to them, if not intolerable. The real or imaginary neglects they experience in society, and from even their former familiars, plant as it were thorns in their hearts. Time wears away, however, the pungency of first impressions. There is (and the goodness of the Creator is clearly manifested in it) as it were a principle of elasticity in the minds of human beings, which enables them to recover themselves when crushed down by the shocks of adversity, and to accommodate after a while, their feelings to their circumstances with marvellous facility. But far above and beyond this, the balm that Religion furnishes, has the never-failing virtue of removing the corrosions of the heart, occasioned by worldly misfortunes.
No human prudence can always secure its subject from disastrous reverses in worldly circumstances. In times of old," there came a great wind from the wil. derness, and smote the four corners of the house" in which the sons and daughters of the man of the East as distinguished for benevolence and charity as for wealth“ were eating, and drinking wine.” In a single hour, his vast substance, and the natural heirs to it, were all swept from him. And recent experience teaches, that in America as well as in Asia, a great wind may destroy in a single hour, what many years of painful industry had accumulated. The most flattering condition of worldly prosperity is sometimes
found to be like the smoothness of the surface of the waters, in their approximation to a cataract.*
But though it is not in the power of prudence to secure earthly possessions in all cases ; yet often, and for the most part, they are lost by imprudence. It' ought to be held in general remembrance," that nothing will supply the want of prudence ; that negligence and irregularity, long continued,” will sink both fortune and character; and that if there be but little moral good in worldly prudence, there is a great deal of moral evil in imprudence, or in such wastefulness and improvidence as not only lead to want and wretchedness, but often to the ruin or deep injury of creditors.
If we take a careful survey of American society, I believe we shall find that the more part of the families who have experienced a distressing reverse in their circumstances, owe it to one or other of the three following causes—the inheritance of wealth-the greediness of wealth and the affectation of wealth.
6 Riches certainly make themselves wings ; they fly away.”—Now these wings, as of an eagle, that bear away riches from the places of their wonted residence, it is worthy of particular notice, are such as naturally grow out of riches; they are wings which riches make themselves :they are idleness, wastefulness, improvidence and prodigality ; all of which a very large proportion of the children of wealth inherit, along with their estates.
A great many fall into poverty, not for lack of industry, but from inordinate greediness of wealth. “ They make haste to be rich."-Scorning the secure competence they already possess, or which is fairly within
* Written in 1815, soon after the dire calamity, by wind and flood, which suddenly befel the towns of Providence and Newport.
their reach, they put it to risk upon the precarious contingency of suddenly attaining the condition of opulence. Impatient of slow gains, the fruits of regular industry, they dash into hazardous enterprizes. If unsuccessful—and they have more than an even chance to be so they are presently ruined : or if brilliant success attend their steps for a while, so that they heap up riches in sudden abundance ; this run of good luck expands their hopes and desires, and they plunge anew into still deeper speculations, till unexpectedly the fallacious ground on which they stand cleaves from under them, and their fortunes are all swallowed up.
If the two great destroyers which I have just mentioned, have devoured their thousands, the one that is yet to be mentioned has devoured its ten the sands. The heritors of overgrown wealth are but few : and though there are very mary greedy and rash adventurers, yet their numbers bear no proportion with the numbers of those who are ruining their circumstances by an absurd and pitiful affectation of wealth. This last is, in economics, what consumption is among bodily distempers, the most common and fatal disease of all. The affectation of wealth, or the vanity of making a show beyond our condition, in apparel, in the elegancies of the table, in furniture, and in every thing else that is thought likely to attract attention and admiration, is the consuming Plague that has already destroy. ed, and which is even now destroying, the earthly substance and comforts of innumerable families, who, but for this disease, might rank with the happiest of man. kind.
Of the attention due both to mind and body.
" To hold the Golden meanTo keep the end in view, and follow nature.” The union of an eminent degree of moral, intellecttial, and literary endowments, with such bodily activity as is common amongst the savage tribes, would form a singular, but a very desirable character. The wild map of the woods can run as fast as the four-footed animals with which he associates, and sometimes, it is said, runs them down and seizes them as his
A savage who depends upon his bow has not the swiftness of the wild man, yet he can walk, or amble along, seFenty or eighty miles a day, and thirty, or forty miles upon a stretch. One cannot help observing a peculiar dignity and gracefulness, in the gait of our American Indians, particularly the chiefs of their tribes. They
forward with a firm step, their body kept in a straight line, their head erect, and seem to move with as much ease as a boat in a fair wind. Strength, agility, and hardiness of body, together with courage, being with them the highest point of perfection; the whole course of their education has a bearing towards this end. They live in the open air, and exercise, and repose themselves alternately, and so as to give suppleness to their joints and ease and nimbleness to their motions.
Mr. Bartram, in his account of the Lower Creeks, a tribe of Indians inhabiting East and West Florida, says :-"On one hand, you see among them troops of boys; some shooting with the bow, some enjoying one kind of diversion, and some another: on the other hand are seen bevies of girls, wandering through orange
groves, and over fields and meadows, gathering flowers and berries in their baskets, or lolling under the shades of flowery trees, or chasing one another in sport, and striving to paint each others' faces with the juice of their berries."
These Creeks, I would venture to presume, resemble considerably the ancient Greeks, about the time they instituted their celebrated games, consisting of running, wrestling, boxing, &c.; which are often alluded to in the writings of St. Paul. In the Heroic, or rather, the Barbarous ages of Greece, that people were little, if any, better informed, or more civilized, than our American Creeks. Their first object, in the education of their children, was, to inspire them with courage, and give them strength, agility, swiftness, and all the other bodily perfections; that so they might be able to defend their liberties and the independence of their respective tribes. After a while they were smit with the love of learning, and Greece became finally the fountain of literature, and even spread the arts and sciences over Italy; whence at last they were diffused throughout all Europe. But the Greeks still kept up their games, and all their customary exercises of body : and they are the only people upon history, who have taken very much care and pains to make the improvements of body and mind keep an even pace together. Their circumstances were peculiarly favourable to this ; since, as to labour, it was all done by their slaves.
Amongst modern civilized nations the great masses ef the people follow daily labour for a livelihood; and among these again, the tillers of the ground stand in the foremost rank. They, living in the open air, and using exercises which expand the chest and brace the nerves and muscles, acquire an uncommon degree of hardiness and vigour of body; yet, by reason of the in