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rises to enthusiasm, is an ambiguous and uncertain virtue : when a man is enthusiastick, he ceases to be reasonable, and when he once departs from reason, what will he do but drink four Tea ? As the Journalist, though enthusiastically zealous for his country, has, with regard to smaller things, the placid happiness of philofophical indifference, I can give him no difturbance by advising him to restrain even the love of his country within due limits, left it should sometimes swell too high, fill the whole capacity of his soul, and leave less room for the love of truth.
Nothing now remains but that I review my pofitions concerning the Foundling-Hospital. What I declared last month, I declare now once more, that I found none of the children that appeared to have heard of the catechism. It is inquired how I wandered, and how I examined? There is doubtless subtilty in the question ; I know not well how to answer it. Happily I did not wander alone; I attended some ladies with another gentleman, who all heard and assisted the inquiry with equal grief and indignation. I did not conceal my observations. Notice was given of this shameful defect soon after, at my request, to one of the highest names of the society. This I am now told is incredible; but fince it is true, and the past is out of human power, the most important corporation cannot make it false. But why is it incredible ? Because in the rules of the hospital the children are ordered to learn the rudiments of religion. Orders are easily made, but they do not execute themselves. They say their catechism, at stated times, under an able master. But this able master was, I think, not elected before last February; and my visit happened, if I mistake not, in November. The children were shy when interrogated by a stranger. This may be true, but the fame shyness I do not remember to have hindered them from answering other questions: and I wonder why children so much accustomed to new spectators should be eminently shy.
My opponent, in the first paragraph, calls the inference that I made from this negligence, a hasty conclusion: to the decency of this expression I had nothing to object : but as he grew hot in his career, his enthusiasm began to sparkle; and in the vehemence of his postscript, he charges my assertions, and my reasons for advancing them, with folly and malice. His argumentation being somewhat enthusiastical, I cannot fully comprehend, but it seems to stand thus : my insinuations are foolish or malicious, since I know not one of the Governors of the Hospital; for he that knows not the Governors of the Hospital, must be very foolish or malicious.
He has, however, so much kindness for me, that he advises me to consult my fafety when I talk of corporations. I know not what the most important corporation can do, becoming manhood, by which my safety is endangered. My reputation is safe, for I can prove the fact; my quiet is safe, for I meant well; and for any other lafety, I am not used to be very folicitous. I am always sorry when I see any being labouring in
vain; and in return for the Journalist's attention to my safety, I will confess some compassion for his tumultuous resentment; since all his invectives fume into the air, with so little effect upon me, that I still esteem him as one that has the merit of meaning well; and still believe him to be a man whose failings may be juftly pardoned for his virtues.
PROCEEDINGS of the COMMITTEE
APPOINTED TO MANAGE THE
Contributions begun at London, Dec. 18, 1758,
for cloathing French Prisoners of War.
HE Committee entrusted with tlie money con
tributed to the relief of the subjects of France, now prisoners in the British dominions, here lay before the publick an exact account of all the sums received and expended, that the donors may judge how properly their benefactions have been applied.
Charity would lose its name, were it influenced by so mean a motive as human praise : it is therefore not intended to celebrate by any particular memorial, the liberality of single persons, or distinct societies; it is sufficient that their works praise them.
Yet he who is far from seeking honour, may very justly obviate censure. If a good example has been set, it may lose its influence by misrepresentation; and to free charity from reproach, is itself a charitable action.
Against the relief of the French only one argument has been brought; but that one is so popular and specious, that if it were to remain unexainined,
it would by many be thought irrefragable. It has been urged, that charity, like other virtues, may be improperly and unseasonably exerted; that while we are relieving Frenckmen, there remain many Englishmen unrelieved ; that while we lavish pity on our enemies, we forget the misery of our friends.
Grant this argument all it can prove, and what is the conclusion ?-That to relieve the French is a good action, but that a better may be conceived. This is all the result, and this all is very little. To do the best can feldom be the lot of man: it is fufficient if, when opportunities are presented, he is ready to do good. How little virtue could be practised, if beneficence were to wait always for the most proper objects, and the noblest occasions ; occasions that may never happen, and objects that may never be found.
It is far from certain, that a single Englishman will suffer by the charity to the French. New scenes of misery make new impressions; and much of the charity which produced these donations, may be supposed to have been generated by a species of calamity never known among us before. Some imagine that the laws have provided all necessary relief in common cases, and remit the poor to the care of the publick ; some have been deceived by fi&itious misery, and are afraid of encouraging imposture; many have observed want to be the effect of vice, and consider casual almsgivers as patrons of idleness. But all these difficulties vanish in the present case: we know that for the Prisoners of War there is no legal provision ; we see their distress, and are certain of its cause; we VOL. II.