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converted into a well-ordered generous expenditure; and it is with nations as with individuals. When the war was commenced with revolutionary France, it was supposed by its advocates that it would be terminated in six weeks. Upon that supposition, calculation of course was not worth attend. ing to, and though the contest was continued with a short interval for twenty years, the spirit of profusion, with which it was begun, never abated. I shall not enter into any detail of the many reasons, which induced the rulers of the day to think only of spending as much money as could by possibility be raised. They did, in fact, pursue that course, and when the struggle was over, great national exhaustion succeeded, made far greater and of much longer duration by those who thought it their policy unceasingly to exaggerate our difficulties ; for the consequence was, each interest affected was taught to look to the State for relief, instead of to their own energies and prudence, which would long since have brought them completely through ; but then that would not have served party purposes, in comparison with which, in the eyes of politicians, the national welfare is as nothing. I recollect that soon after the conclusion of the war, when all sense of danger was over, and whilst the applications of the taxgatherer were undiminished, a very general desire for a more economical system was rising up, and it must have become irresistible, but for the hasty, selfish proceedings of demagogues and crude reformers, who created alarm, and thereby diverted public attention to the public safety. I think it was on occasion of a foolish meeting at Manchester, called the Blanketteer Meeting, that ten thousand men were added to the
army. I have already, in my eighth number, shortly expressed my opinion against mob assemblies, called by many safety-valves, and often supposed to be the guardians of liberty, but, according to my view, the most efficient friends of abuses in government. I intend on some future occasion to take up the subject more at length. To return—the ob
stinate and ill-judged resistance of the party in power to all retrenchment, caused it to be forced upon them, on principles and in a tone quite below the character and the interests of a great nation, which tone and principles, if they remain in their present force, must of necessity destroy public spirit, and create, with individual wealth perhaps, individual selfishness, baseness, and corruption. During the war the tone of the government was that of energy and extravagance, and that of the governed became the same. A corresponding effect must be expected now; and would take place also, if the nation's affairs were conducted with spirit and generosity. A minimum in expenditure will produce a minimum in other things of more consequence ; and in elevation of thought, we seem to be on the road to merit the appellation which has been bestowed upon us, of a nation of shopkeepers, and for the benefit of what class the change would be, I am utterly at a loss to discover. I will conclude my observations with an extract from Burke, who did not forget the statesman in the reformer, and I beg my reader's attention to his description of Parsimony, as being particularly applicable to some of the retrenchers of the present day.
“When a cold penury blasts the abilities of a nation, and stunts the growth of its active energies, the ill is beyond all calculation. Mere parsimony is not economy. Expense, and great expense, may be an essential part in true economy. Economy is a distributive virtue, and consists, not in saving, but in selection. Parsimony requires no providence, no sagacity, no powers of combination, no comparison, no judgment. Mere instinct, and that not an instinct of the noblest kind, may produce this false economy in perfection. The other economy has larger views. It demands a discriminating judgment, and a firm, sagacious mind. It shuts one door to impudent importunity, only to open another, and a wider, to unpresuming merit. If none but meritorious service or real talent were to be rewarded, this nation has not wanted, and
this nation will not want, the means of rewarding all the service it ever will receive, and encouraging all the merit it ever will produce. No state, since the foundation of society, has been impoverished by that species of profusion.” Burke might have gone much farther, and have said that any state which should indulge in such species of profusion, would be incalculably enriched by it, both pecuniarily and morally.
LETTERS FROM THE CONTINENT.
Florence, June 7, 1822. I shall now go back to our first arrival at Rome, which was on the 12th of February. As is generally observed, Rome disappoints. you at first, improves as you know it, and ends in being the most interesting of places. The Campagna too, or country round it, which strikes travellers, merely passing along the high road, as the most desolate of districts, becomes by acquaintance highly interesting—at least I found it so, by dint of walks of from two to three hours before breakfast, and of still longer rides in the evening. The best view is from the tomb of Cecilia Metella, on the side farthest from the road, where most visitants never go. You see there, from an eminence, the walls and domes of the city, the three ranges of aqueducts, stretching for miles and miles towards the mountains, with one exception, in various stages of mutilation, and partly covered with thick ivy and wild shrubs, ruined tombs, temples and fortifications, and dark and lofty pines scattered over a desolate plain, or what looks like a plain in comparison with the Apennines and the Alban mountain, which bound it. When the lights are favourable, it is a most imposing scene; I think all scenery, in which apex, an
ruins are a feature, appears to the greatest advantage by a fading light. There is another fine point of view from near Albano, looking down towards Rome, along the old Appian Way, which is a straight line of about fifteen miles, bordered on each side the whole distance with ruined tombs—some of them turned into habitations for the wretched peasantry. If Sterne was so far, I should think this view suggested to him that beautiful passage, “ To die is the great debt due unto nature-tombs and monuments, which should perpetuate our memories, pay it themselves, and the proudest pyramid of them all, which wealth or science has erected, has lost its
and stands obtruncated in the traveller's horizon." Along the whole of the Appian Way, which reaches con. siderably more than a hundred miles, the ruins of once magnificent tombs are to be seen in greater or less profusion. In a columbarium, or receptacle for the ashes of the dead, discovered near Rome whilst we were there, were found all the vases or urns, containing burnt bones, arranged as in a sort of pigeon-house, from whence the name. There are several epitaphs, but the prettiest is one from a mother to her son, who died, I think, at twenty-three. It is in the original, “Quod tu mihi facere debebas, ege tibi facio, mater pia ;" which, literally translated, signifies, What you owed to do for me, I, your affectionate mother, do for you. It will bring to your
mind Burke's passage on his son—“I live in an inverted order—they, who should have been to me as posterity, are in the place of ancestors." Cicero has a passage of still nearer resemblance.
From tombs we will go to a different subject—the Carnival, in the midst of which we arrived. The scene is the Corso, the principal street in Rome, about three-quarters of a mile long, quite straight, with many handsome palaces, some churches and converts, and other public buildings in it. Stages or platforms are erected on each side the street, with
chairs and benches upon them, and from the windows and balconies hangs in great profusion tapestry, as you have seen at fêtes at Paris. About two o'clock for the last eight days the people begin to assemble in carriages and on foot, in masks and without, and in all sorts of characters, and they parade about, amusing themselves as well as they can till the race, which begins and ends just before dark. I saw humour or fun, except what arose from pelting with sugarplums and comfits. Sometimes there were very hot contests, and in places the ground looked as if there had been a violent hailstorm. It is the English, you must know, who introduced the more vigorous, and, as I think, only amusing warfare ; the noble Romans heretofore having contented themselves with a sort of a courteous interchange, as dull as themselves. The most tremendous conflicts used to take place between the Englishmen passing by, and a party of English ladies'-maids, posted in front of the shop of one Samuel Lowe, wine merchant. Samuel Lowe in the "eternal city!” and English ladies'-maids on the soil of Livia, Octavia, and company! What changes ! But, as Gibbon somewhere prognosticates the future ascendancy of the negro race, perhaps the Tim.. buctooians may hereafter figure in London, as we now figure at Rome. We may as easily imagine that, as Julius Cæsar could have imagined the present change. Before the race, the Corso is cleared in an instant, and some eight or ten horses without riders start, all covered with gold leaf, and such trumpery ; and, indeed, in spite of Madame de Stael's high-flown description, the whole affair is too trumpery to have any thing more said about it. At night there were masquerades at one of the theatres-very dull. I do not understand the assertion that the English are less fitted for masquerades than foreigners; my experience tells me the exact reverse. At the last masquerade the grandees of Rome attend, dressed up. The ladies, principally in scarlet,