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the air of folly and falfhood, to the other. Alas! we are men alike thro' all, and the antiquarian of England as credulous, and as little philofophic, as the devotee of Rome: the impartial eye and fagacious head discover what furfaces conceal; that novelty, rarity, and fashion, delight and delude, yet the ocean of intellect is all the fame, and contains the fame materials, below; the prifm of the human understanding divides the flood of light into its original compounding colours, the green, blue, or violet, may in their turns be the reigning colour in vogue; and the true philofopher perceives that an equal truth belongs to each, and their union constitutes that which gives life and vifibility to all. I am,
Your most obedient,
and most bumble fervant.
To the Reverend Father BATISTA GUARINI, at Rome.
T has been the obfervation of fome travellers, that the refined policy of the Venetians has defignedly created a contempt of their clergy, and a kind of plenary indulgence in the affairs of gallantry; in confequence of which the nuns frequently receive their lovers in their convents, and after having vow'd an eternal adieu to the delights of this world, pass their hours in the fweets of carnal love, and mere mortality.
I am not politician enough to decide, whether this be right according to the maxims of their government; nor do I know, that encouragement to vice, and the diminishing the power of restraining it by depreciating the efteem of the clergy, neceffarily enter into the idea of an aristocracy. It seems to me however, that the minifters of this kingdom may poffibly conceive it in that light, and their views be calculated to introduce the fame
kind of government hereafter in this ifland, which
reigns in Venice at prefent; they may leffen the authority of the crown to that of the Doge, and buying the votes of that rabble of little boroughs in the kingdom, fecure to themselves hereafter those who may unite to plunder and undo, then treat their master with contempt, and keep their own power fuperior: an understanding that would doubt this, after their intending to pass a law against clandeftine marriage, in the manner it is defigned to be enacted, must have a great inclination to scepticism indeed.
IT has been already faid, that the Venetians, by tolerating the criminal intercourfe of the fexes, and fhewing no favourable atttention to the clergy, must have imagined, that fuch behaviour is neceffary to the supporting an ariftocratic government, which is with them very defpotic and ty
YOUTH must be indulged in venereal delights, the propenfity which is most natural to it, to allure their attentions from the study of politics, and enervate their refolutions by that indulgence; and the clergy render'd almost contemptible, left that power, which divines have over the minds of men, fhould create oppofition
to the civil authority, and give the fenators difturbance by preaching patriotism and virtue.
IF these are the reafons of the Venetian nobility, the ministerial men of this island, may probably have adopted the fame fentiments for the fame intent; at least there has lately been thoughts of paffing a law in this nation, which may bid fair to have no better tendency.
I is faid that it will be enacted, that no marriage fhall be valid without confent of guardians or parents, where either person is less than twentyone years old.
THE penal parts to rest only on the clergyman, who performs the office; the male or female, who is above age to incur no penalty; and the young lady who fhall be feduced, to have no reftitution for her loft reputation and virtue.
THE more one confiders the nature of this act, the more it appears impoffible that any thing can be more effectually plann'd, to the effectuating the defign of introducing an ariftocratic or oligarchic power; it contains every thing neceffary, combined in one law, for that in
tent: if the abettors of it will ftill avow that their defign had nothing of that kind conceal'd in it, how will they clear themselves from the im- · putation of the most short-fighted politicians, that ever pretended to give laws to a nation, will they, after fo manifeft a mistake, perfift to pre fide in affairs of state and public welfare?
WHENEVER an order of men, equally cri minal with another who has no greater right to immunites by law or privilege, is exempted from the punition, to which the former is fubjected by the legislature, may it not be faid, that it is either defigned to fhew the contempt which the minifters have entertained for one above the other, or fome private finifter view exempts the latter, for reafons peculiar to themselves, and not tending to public good?
WHAT pretext can a man make use of, to amufe an inquifitive eye, and blind a just judge, who is about to fubject the clergyman to penal laws for crimes, in every commiffion of which there must be always fome one more criminal than him whom this law makes only culpable.