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casm, and any thing but matter of fact. After confidering the principal qualities of Tacitus as a writer and an historian, he goes on as follows: We cannot help thinking, says he, that there is a false sublime and affectation in his description: a scurrility and satyrical vein, with too epigrammatical a conciseness in his wit; an acuteness, but too fpeculative, and a policy over-refined in his observations; a malignant and ill-natured turn in his characters; a philofophy too abstracted and elevated in his reasoners, and a vanity in his learning: in short, that he is in antiquity a pedant; in the philosophy of nature a sceptic; in morals loose; in description gaudy and pompous; in politicks fubdolous, refined and knavilh.'
That we may not abuse the patience of our readers, we shall only acquaint them, that our author, in the second part of his work, compares Tacitus with Livy, and is equally judicious in the commendations he bestows on the latter, as he is in the censure which he passes on the former.
ART. LIII. Memoirs illustrating the manners of the pre
sent Age. By monsieur Du Clos, historiographer to the French king, and member of the royal academy at Paris. Translated from the French by a gentleman. 12mo.
2 vols, 6s. Whiston, &c. IN N the firft volume of this work, our ingenious author
gives us his thoughts on a variety of useful subjects ; such as, manners in general; education ; virtue and honour; reputation; the real value of things; affectation, &c. Many of his reflections are extremely judicious, and such as shew him to be well acquainted with human nature ; the English reader indeed will not be able to enter thoroughly into them, without a tolerable acquaintance with French manners, which monsieur Du Clofs paints with no less justice than freedom.
In the second volume, he gives us the history of the intrigues of a young nobleman of great vivacicy, who is carried impetuously down the stream of fashionable but false pleasure, and, after some years spent in a dull circle of infipid gaiety and debauchery, is at last, by the force of his own reflections on the monstrous folly of such a course, brought back to the paths of virtue and domestic happiness. In this second part, there is nothing to offend the
modest reader, no low scenes exhibited, as is but too frequently the case in such writings, to the great reproach of most of our modern authors in this way : the design of the whole appears to be to turn vice into ridicule, and to get the laugh on the side of virtue.
That our readers may in some measure be able to judge of our author's manner, and likewise of the merit of the translation, we shall present them with the following specimen, taken from the chapter on education. If education, says he, was guided by reason, men would acquire a great many truths with more facility than they receive a small number of errors. Truths have, one with another, a relation, a connection and affinity, points of contact, which help knowledge and memory; whereas errors stand generally by themselves, and are more efficacious than consequent ; greater efforts are required to be undeceived, than to be preserved from them.
• Ordinary education is far from being systematical ; when some imperfect notions of things, which are but of very little use, are acquired, the chief instruction that is afterwards recommended, is the means of making a fortur.e. Politeness is the morality we are taught, which is more a necessary means of acquiring a fortune than a lesson of humanity.
• What does this politeness consist in, which is so much recommended, on which so much was writ, so many precepts given, and so few fixed ideas? Subjects, which were so often treated, are looked upon to be exhausted ; and those, whose importance is cried up, to be clear and evident. I do not flatter myself with the thoughts of treating this matter better than has been already done; but I will tel) my
mind in a few words. There are some inexhaustible subjects : besides, it is useful, that those whose knowledge concerns us nearly, should appear in different lights, and be seen by different eyes. Weak eyes, whose weakness even makes them more attentive, perceive sometimes what has escaped a more extended and rapid sight.
Politeness is the exprefsion or imitation of social virtues; it is the expreffion, if it be true, and the imitation, if it be false : focial virtues make us useful or agreeable to those we live with. A man who enjoys them all is certainly polite in the highest degree.
• But how does it happen, that a man of an elevated genius, of a generous heart, and exact justice, iswanting in politeness, whilst it is found in another of shallow un
derstanding, in one, who has always his own interest at heart, or a man of suspected probity? It is, because the first wants some social qualities ; such as, prudence, discretion, reserve, or indulgence for the faults and weaknesses of men.
One of the first social virtues is, to tolerate in others, what we should forbid ourselves. Whereas the second, without having any virtue, has the art to imitate them all. He knows how to fhew respect to his superiors, goodness to his inferiors, esteem to his equals, and perfuades them all, that he thinks favourably of them; without having one of the sentiments he imitates.
« Men know, that the politeness they fhew each other, is but an imitation of esteem. They agree in general, that the obliging things they say, are not the language of truth or of the heart ; and on particular occasions, they themselves are deceived and gulled in their turn. Self-love makes every one believe foolishly, that what is done through decorum, is a justice paid them.
« Tho' we are convinced that protestations of esteem are false, yet we prefer them to fincerity ; because this falfhood has an air of respect in fome occasions, where candour and truth would be offensive. A man knows that others think ill of him, and this mortifies him: to acknowledge it to himself, would insult him, deprive him of the resource he seeks in blinding himself, and prove to him, how little he is esteemed. Such as are most united, and have reason to esteem each other, would become mortal enemies, if they shewed plainly, and without disguise, what they think of each other. There is a certain veil of obscurity, which preserves friendship, and which we are all afraid to lift up.
. But where lies the medium, which separates vile falshood from offensive sincerity ? In mutual regard, that forms the bonds of society, and grows from the conviction of our own imperfections, and the need we have of indulgence. Men should neither be deceived, nor offended.
• It appears, that, in the education of the people of the world, they are supposed incapable of virtue ; and that they would have reason to blush, had they shewed themselves to be what they really are ; as if a mask was a remedy for deformity.
· The politeness which is in use, is but a filly jargon, full of exaggerated expressions, as void of sense as sentiments.
• Politeness, however, shews, it is said, a man of birth; the greatest men are the most polite. I own that this politeness is the first mark of elevation, and a bulwark against familiarity. There is a great difference between politeness and sweetness of temper; and a greater between sweetness of temper and goodness. Great men, who keep us at a distance with politeness without goodness, fhould also. be paid in their turn, with respect without attachment.
It is added, that politeness proves an education well taken care of, and our having lived in chosen company: it requires so nice a touch, and so delicate a sentiment for whatever is suitable or agreeable, that fuch as have not been initiated in it, in their youth, make but vain efforts to acquire it afterwards; and can never go through it gracefully and genteely. Firft, the difficulty of a thing is not a proof of its excellence. Secondly, it is to be wished, that men who purposely renounce their character, should gather no other fruit but that of becoming ridiculous : this perhaps would bring them back to truth and plain dealing.
Besides, this exquisite politeness is not so rare, as those who have no other merit would persuade us. It produces now-a-days so little effect, as its falfhood is fo well known, that it is sometimes disagreeable even to those whom it is addressed to ; insomuch, that some people think it adviseable to act in a rude and clownish manner, the better to imitate openness and sincerity, and cover their designs. Thus they are rude without being sincere, and false, without being polite.
It is by polifhing themselves, men have learned to reconcile their private with the common interest ; and by this conformity have experienced, that every man draws more from fociety than he could put into it.
• The politeness of great men ought to be humanity ; that of inferiors, gratitude, if great men deserve it; that of equals, esteem and mutual good offices. Far from excufing rufticity, it were to be wished, that the politeness which flows from sweetness of manners, was always united with that, which rises from the uprightness and integrity of the heart.
• The most unhappy effect which usual politeness produces, is, to teach us the art of making no account of the virtues we imitate. Let us, in our education, be inspired with humanity, bounty and benevolence, and we shall, by this means, learn politeness, or have no farther need of it.
ART. LIV. The history of Jack Connor.
F the several books of entertainment published in the
faction in the perusal, than this work ; which is unquestionably the best of the kind that hath appeared fince the adventures of Pompey the little. The author hath taken uncommon and effectual care to conceal his name from the public; from which circumstance, and from certain flight crudities in the performance, we are inclined to think it the production of a young writer, whose modesty, perhaps, or prudence, determined him to wait in secret the judgment of his readers, and to avail himself of a censure or approbation which could not be thought the less impartial, or true, from their absolute ignorance of the author. Guesses, indeed, have been plentifully aim'd at him; but all that these have discovered or agreed in, is, that he appears to be a gentleman, and of a neighbouring kingdom, famous for having produced fome of the brightest wits, and bravest soldiers in the modern world. Every unprejudiced reader must own, that the stile, and sentiments of this writer, speak him to be above the common run of authors, and his refusal of any gratuity from his bookseller for the copy, intimates his being above the want of those pecuniary returns which the generality of our literati are obliged to accept, as equivalent for their abilities and their labours.
The principal scenes of Mr. Connor's adventures are laid in Ireland, where the hero receives his birth and education. The author takes frequent occasion to express his fondness for this country, to digress in its praise, to throw out hints for its advantage, and propose schemes for its improvement; he often makes smart reprizals upon the English, for their national and vulgar prejudices against their brethren of Ireland. He does not, however, spare the Irish themselves; who, in their turn, are made to contribute their share towards the entertainment of his readers : in a word, our author's merit, in the article of humour, is, we apprehend, chiefly to be found in those parts of his work where he sports with some peculiarities in the manners of the lower classes among the natives of that country, and of England.
The story of Jack Conner may be justly considered, upon the whole, as a truly moral tale, notwithstanding: some levities may be found in it, which may show the au