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á struggle been adopted by the same nations. The polytheism of the Greeks and Romans comprehended a thousand gods; but the whole pantheon was removed when an emperor set the example of a change. Under the appearance of one simple faith, how many fashionable divisions and subdivisions have had their run in the modern European nations! What utter contrarieties to each other, and to the common source from which they pretend to be copied, have been embraced by the same people! Among these it would be strange if atheism and deism should not enjoy their fashionable day. The former has made its appearance in our island; within this century it made some bold attacks upon the principle of religion, and boasted of some distinguished examples; but deism, or a kind of lazy scepticism, has succeeded, and is now the polite faith of our fashionable countrymen. Among the politer French and Italians, pure unqualified atheism is said again to be revived under the


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modest name of philosophy, though it be no other than the material system of Epicurus and Spinosa.

It would be endless to run through every field of sentiment; every field presents the same appearance, the same facility of receiving whatever is offered, of quitting whatever has been received, without seeming to acknowledge any other principle of choice than fashion.

Manners and morals have had the same fluctuating run, and every different mode the same easy access to the imitating mind. Fortitude and timidity; temperance and luxury; to feast upon an onion, or to swallow a whole province at a meal; continence and a general prostitution; sobriety and drunkenness, have all been adopted in their turn by the same nation, and had each their fashionable course. What a change of manners in our own short day have we seen to take place before our eyes ! Not many years ago it was disreputable for a youth to be even 'seen in a house of public entertain





ment, or to sacrifice to any of those indulgencies of the table or the glass, 'which the morose spirit of the times but scantily allowed to a riper age. Now he is hardly deemed to give the promise of a man, assuredly not of a man of taste and fashion, who devotes himself to any thing else but his pleasures. All beside is pedantry and puritanism. In the same day it was highly infamous for youth to be in any degree conversant in what were ill-naturedly called the criminal pleasures of love. At this day, youth is laughed at, who has not early become as wise as his father. Seduction, and even adultery, for which a Genevan would have atoned with his life at the gallows, set no mark upon a man in fashionable life, and in some female circles he will be more reputably received. What is the whole moral system of high life, but fashion ? To commit a petty theft is disreputable, because it is the fashion of the vulgar; but no principle of honesty, which our pulpits so peevishly and unpolitely contend for, repells


the fashionable man ; and therefore every theft, which the fashion of his rank sanctifies, is heartily and honourably practised by him. To cheat on the turf or at the gamingtable is not dishonesty, but the laudable acquisition of superior skill. To eat and be clothed at the expense and ruin of the industrious tradesman, is the privilege of men of rank; and that sum which unpolished moralists would appropriate to the payment of their debts, is with them more reputably bestowed on their whores, their horses, and their dogs : while one great field of theft, without the shadow of an impeachment of their honour, is left open to them. A man of fashion may dip his hand in the treasury, and rob the public of thousands and of millions, which were hardly wrung from the necessities of the people.

Patriotism has been in high repute with every nation at particular periods, and still adorns the harangues of some severe moralists : but in vain do they address their fellow-citizens with their fine-spun theories,



unless the fashion of the times give a credit to their maxims. What was respectable in the reign of Charles the First, and for which a man would have sacrificed even life itself, is now the subject of fashionable ridicule ; and so completely has the mode of the times eradicated all ideas of patriotism out of the minds of our politer countrymen, that they conceive of it only as of a mere chimera, which may be assumed indeed as a fiction, but which can have no existence in the human heart as a separate and independent principle of action. Fashion gives an arbitrary direction to public opinion, on the most important subjects of what is called political morality, and that which is the highest common good to day shall give place to morrow to its opposite. To be jealous of the prince, and apprehend in him not only the possibility, but the constant inclination,

invade the claims of the people, was fo many years the parliamental fashion ; but he is now a downright cynic amongst his brother-senators, who does not hold the in


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