Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

fpirited ministry! In the present course of advancement, a youth of quality who aspires to serve his country in a civil employment, has nothing to rely on but parliamentary interest. The military education proposed, would afford him opportunity to improve his talents, and to convince the world of his merit. Honour and applause thus acquired, would intitle him to demand preferment; and he ought to be employed, not only as deserving, but as an encouragement to others. Frequent instances of neglecting men who are patronized by the public, might perhaps prove dangerous to a British minister.

If I have not all this while been dreaming, here are display'd illustrious advantages of the military education proposed. Fondness for the subject excites me to prolong the entertainment; and I add the following reflection on the education of such men as are disposed to serve in a public station. The sciences are mutually connected : a man cannot be perfect in any one, without being in some degree acquainted with every one. The science of politics in particular, being not a little intricate, cannot be acquired in perfection by

any

any one whose studies have been confined to a single branch, whether relative to peace or to war. The Duke of Marlborough made an eminent figure in the cabinet, as well as in the field; and so did equally the illustrious Sully, who may serve as a model to all ministers. The great aim in modern politics is, to split government into the greatest number possible of departments, trusting nothing to genius. China affords such a government in perfection. National affairs are there fo fimplified by division, as to require scarce any capacity in the mandarines. These officers, having little occasion for activity either of mind or of body, fink down into floth and sensuality: motives of ambition or of fame make no impression: they have not even the delicacy to blush when they err: and as no punishment is regarded but what touches the person or the purse, it is not unusual to fee a mandarine beaten with many stripes, sometimes for a very flight tranfgression. Let arts be fubdivided into many parts: the more fubdivisions the better. But I venture to pronounce, that no man ever did, nor ever will, make a capital figure in the government of a state,

whether

whether as a judge, a general, or a minifter, whose education is rigidly confined to one science *.

Sensible I am that the foregoing plan is in several respects imperfect; but if it be found at bottom, polish and improvement are easy operations. My capital aim has been, to obviate the objections that press hard against every military plan, hitherto embraced or proposed. A standing army in its present form, is dangerous to liberty; and but a feeble bulwark against superior force. On the other hand, a nae tion in which every subject is a soldier, must not indulge any hopes of becoming powerful by manufactures and commerce : it is indeed vigorously defended, but is Scarce worthy of being defended. The golden mean of rotation and constant labour in a standing army, would discipline multitudes for peace as well as for war. And a nation fo defended would be invincible.

* Phocion is praised by ancient writers, for struggling against an abuse that had crept into his country of Artica, that of making war and politics different professions. In imitation of Ariftides and of Pericles, he studied both equally.

VOL. III,

I

SKETCH

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

A Mong the industrious nations of Eu

rope, regulations for the poor make a considerable branch of public police. These regulations are so multiplied and so anxiously framed, as to move one to think, that there cannot remain a single person under a necessity to beg. It is however a fad truth, that the disease of poverty, instead of being eradicated, has become more and more inveterate. England in particular overflows with beggars, tho' in no other country are the indigent fo amply provided for. Some radical defect there must be in these regulations, when, after endless attempts to perfect them, they prove abortive. Every writer, dissatisfied with former plans, fails not to produce one of his own; which, in its turn, meets with as little approbation as any of the foregoing. The first regulation of the states of Hol

land

land concerning the poor, was in the year 1614 prohibiting all begging. The next was in the year 1649.

“ It is enacted, That

every town, village, or parish, “ shall maintain its poor out of the in

come of its charitable foundations and " collections. And in case these means “ fall short, the magistrates shall maintain " them at the general expence of the in

habitants, as can most conveniently be “ done: Provided always, that the poor “ be obliged to work either to merchants,

farmers, or others, for reasonable wages,

in order that they may, as far as pos“sible, be supported that way; provided

also, that they be indulged in no idle

ness nor insolence.” The advice or instruction here given to magistrates, is fenfible; but falls short of what may be termed a law, the execution of which can be enforc'd in a court of justice.

In France, the precarious charity of monasteries proving ineffectual, a hospital was erected in the city of Paris anno 1656, having different apartments; one for the innocent poor, one for putting vagabonds to hard labour, one for foundlings, and one for the fick and maimed; with cerI 2

tain

« ZurückWeiter »