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ait des opinions supercélestes, sans avoir des mæurs souterreines." ; -pp. 59-61. · Another letter to the same young gentleman begins as follows :
• If your low spirits arise from bodily illness (as is often the case), you must consult Dr. Baillie. I can do nothing for you. Perhaps you should fast a little, and walk and ride. But if they are caused by disappointment, by impatience, or by calamity, you can do much for yourself. The well-known worn-out topics of consolation and of encouragement are become trite, because they are reasonable; and you will soon be cured, if you steadily persevere in a course of moral alteratives.' You have no right to be dispirited, possessing as you do all that one of the greatest as well as oldest sages has declared to be the only requisites for happiness-a sound mind, a sound body, and a competence.
* An anxious, restless temper, that runs to meet care on its way, that regrets lost opportunities too much, and that is over-painstaking in contrivances for happiness, is foolish, and should not be indulged.
“ On doit être heureux sans trop penser à l'être.” • If you cannot be happy in one way, be happy in another; and this facility of disposition wants but little aid from philosophy, for health and good humour are almost the whole affair. Many run about after felicity, like an absent man hunting for his hat, while it is on his head or in his hand. Though sometimes small evils, like invisible insects, inflict great pain, yet the chief secret of comfort lies in not suffering trifles to vex one, and in prudently cultivating an undergrowth of small pleasures, since very few great ones, alas ! ure let on long leases. I cannot help seeing that you are dissatisfied with your occupation, and that you think yourself unlucky in having been destined to take it up, before you were old enough to choose for yourself. Do not be too sure that you would have chosen well. I somewhere met with an observation, which, being true, is important that in a masquerade, where people assume what characters they like, “ how ill they often play them !” Many parts are probably preferred for the sake of the dress; and do not many young men enter into the navy or army, that they may wear a sword and a handsome uniform, and be acceptable partners at a ball ? Vanity is hard-hearted, and insists upon wealth, rank, and admiration. Even so great a man as Prince Eugene owned (after gaining a useless victory) that “on travaille trop pour la Gazette.” Such objects or pursuits are losing their value every day, and you must have observed that rank gives now but little precedence, except in a procession.
• But I am really ashamed even to hint at such endless and obvious commonplaces, and I shall only repeat the remark, which seems to have struck you—that in all the professions, high stations seem to come down to us, rather than that we have got up to them. But you, forsooth, are too sensible to be ambitious; and you are, perhaps, only disheartened by some unforeseen obstacles to reasonable desires. Be it so! but this will not justify, nor even excuse, dejection.
Untoward accidents will sometimes happen; but, after many, many years of thoughtful experience, I can truly say, that nearly all those who began life with me have succeeded or failed, as they deserved. “ Faber quisque fortunæ propriæ." Ill fortune at your age is often good for us, both in teaching and in bracing the mind; and even in our later days it may be often turned to advantage, or overcome. Besidestrifling precautions will often prevent great mischiefs; as a slight turn of the wrist parries a mortal thrust.'--pp. 48-50.
In the foregoing passage there is much that deserves reflection, Mr. Sharp, however, wrote this letter in 1817, and then assuredly there was no approach to truth in Mr. Sharp's dictum that rank now gives little precedence except in a procession !' When that is the case, the hour of processions (except those of the Unionists) will be very near its close. Far down beyond 1817 rank has continued to be of enormous importance in our country; so much so, that, without it, it has been the most difficult thing in the world for any one to do much serious mischief in any department of public life. And it is exactly this cant of the day, into which Mr. Sharp has for once given, about the nothingness of rank, that has so turned the heads of many of Mr. Sharp's 'young friends,' and made them, taking the homage paid to their rank for the honest tribute to their talents, indulge such egregious self-esteem and self-confidence, and convert their own rank into the lever for upturning the whole system to which that rank belongs. The men of no rank may now abide their time; they may now indeed possess their souls in patience, well knowing that the great blow has been struck—that the felled tree may put out buds and leaves for a spring or so, but will make no more timber; and that even at this hour, had the reformed constituencies sent one single young plebeian, of desperate fortunes, genius, and courage, into parliament, Lord John Russell would no more have thought of taking precedence of him in a procession, than of Mr. Gully in a prize-ring, or of Mr. Ducrow, who will, we hope, be the next member for Lambeth, in a circus.
Another passage in our last quotation is not quite so clear as we could have wished. In all the professions,' says Mr. Sharp,
high stations seem to come down to us, rather than that we have got up to them.'
We think we could point out instances in which persons have mounted into very lofty stations by means of very long and very dirty ladders, and afterwards, indeed, made these high stations come down-not to, but with them.
In one of his Essays we find Mr. Sharp returning to the subject of rank—the Essay bears no date, and may therefore be of 1834:* In De Rulhiere's Anecdotes of the Revolution in Russia, there is
a short story exemplifying that decay of the ancient respect for rank, and that growth of a regard for wealth, so observable of late in most parts of the world, Odart, a Piedmontese conspirator for Catherine, used to say, “ I see there is no regard for anything but money, and money
I will have, I would go this night and set fire to the palace for money; and when I had got enough, I would retire to my own country, and there live like an honest man.” More than once the empress offered him a title : “ No, madam, I thank you,” said Odart; “ money, money, if you please.” He did get money, went to Nice, and there he is said to have lived as became a gentleman.'
We really cannot see much reason to wonder at a Piedmontese adventyrer's preferring Russian gold to such a nothing as a Russian title; but Mr. Sharp evidently means to strike hame, and giving bim all credit for sincerity, we must humbly observe, that as far as we have seen, the persons in this country who talk the most contemptuously of rank are often those who would be the most apt to leap over the table for the least rag of it for themselves. He will perhaps answer, that this is the case simply because rank hitherto has commanded among us 'inoney or money's worth'that the fire-new coronet has had its price on Cornhill, &c. &c. This is a controversy into which we shall not at present enter. As to the high respect of our time for wealth itself, there can be no doubt. Wherever it appears, it has Flattery kissing the dust before it, and-(though Mr, Sharp may fancy that the revolytionary spirit of the age aims only at rank)— Envy whetting the knife behind. He proceeds in this tone which we fancy will amuse posterity in a volume published in the year 1834.
• Since this over-estimate of wealth is almost universal, it can be no wonder that the rich are so vain and the poor so envious. I know that it is only repeating the tritest of commonplaces to observe that both exaggerate its advantages.
“Je lis au front de ceux qu'un vain faste environne,
Que la Fortune vend ce qu'on croit qu'elle donne.' • It must, however, be owned, that the greatest are willing enough to consider the humblest as their fellow-creatures, when they stand in need of their help. A prince in danger of being drowned would not wonder at being saved by the humanity of a common sailor ;
and a general, before a battle, addresses his “ brave fellow-soldiers." Indeed many persons do the poor the honour of expecting them to be spotless. Too often is it deemed a good excuse for refusing them alms, that they have failings like our own.
There are many advantages in this variety of conditions, one of which is boasted of by a divine, who rejoices that, between both classes, “ all the holidays of the church are properly kept; since the rich observe the feasts, and the poor observe the fasts." To be more serious – it is fortunate for the Christian world that our public worship tends at once to abase the proud, and to uplift the dejected; while a
similar effect results in a free country from its elections, where the haughtiest are obliged to go hat in hand begging favours from the lowest. Nor should the lofty be ashamed, for it has so happened that the best benefactors of the human race have been poor men: such as Socrates and Epaminondas ; such as many of the most illustrious Romans—and the inspired founders of our faith.'—pp. 73-75.
We confess that we have extracted these sentences with some feeling of doubt and wonder. They are not from a letter to some nameless stripling, but from an Essay to the English public. Can Mr. Sharp seriously think it necessary to remind bearded men that poverty has often been found in companionship with the highest genius and the purest virtue ?
This is an academic flourish, surely. It might have been a fair stroke, if Mr. Sharp had stood for reformed Calne, to spout from the hustings, that if Socrates and St. Peter had lived in our day, they would have owed their elective franchise to Lord Durham ; but some Unionist would have been ready to answer, that Diogenes could never have taken rank as a ten-pounder.
We forget the name of the ingenious Frenchman who wrote a clever and amusing book to prove that no change in any man's external circumstances (barring the case of absolute indigence) can alter the individual's essential feelings of comfort and happiness for more thun three months ; but that little volume, read many years ago, made an impression on ourselves, which can never be obliterated, and which all subsequent experience has confirmed and deepened. Mr. Sharp, as it seems to us, considers the whole of this maiter too much en millionaire—he thinks only of the very rich and the very poor. He enters into none of the delicate pains and struggles of the classes between. He passes abruptly from his own domestic luxury to the beggar crawling by his window. There is, however, truth and good feeling in the passage we are about to quote : it will remind
of our readers of what Robert Burns said as to the misery of a poor father's death-bed.
• When a child is taken from an opulent mother, she comforts herself by saying, “ I thank God that all that could be done has been done to save it ;" but the grief of a poor woman is heightened into agony by the belief that a physician and proper attendance might have preserved her little one. Such thoughts are the harder to bear, because the social affections of the needy are nec
ecessarily cherished by, the habit of doing those humble services to each other which are ren. dered to the rich by their menials; and perhaps this necessity alone may counteract the inevitable, and, therefore, pardonable selfishness arising from scanty subsistence.'-pp. 77, 78.
We must, however, take leave to observe here, that in London and in all our great towns, thanks to the high and generous tone
of feeling hitherto characteristic of the medical profession in this kingdom, the poorest have easy access to the best medical advice as well as surgical assistance-gratis. No man of eminence in any walk of the profession, but admits, for a certain part of every day, patients from whom no remuneration can be expected: no operation but what is daily performed with consummate skill on our paupers. This is, perhaps, the only advantage that the poor of towns have over those of the country—but it is a great one.*
* We cannot resist the temptation to quote a short passage from an excellent pamphlet lately published on · The Medical Profession in England.' We recommend it to the candid attention of Lord Durham and Mr. Warburton :
Let it be supposed, according to the cry of the present day, or, to express it more justly, according to the leading feeling in the minds of many, that there should be free trade in everything; free trade in the sale of the products of mind as well as of bodily labour. Now if this doctrine be applied to the profession of physic, the argument
inay be familiarly illustrated in the following manner. The first difficulty that presents itself is, that the purchasers of the article are no judges of it; they must buy upon confidence therefore; and confidence is an ingredient that always enhances the price of a commodity,-as is observed in trade, where a dealer in good articles must have a remuneration for their worth, proportionate to the character he bears for supplying no bad materials. Experience has taught mankind, that it is safer and cheaper to deal with such persons in all articles of which purchasers are not perfect judges, than to go to those who profess to sell cheap. The common reason of the world teaches, that, where honesty in tradesmen is equal, cheap articles must be inferior; the proverb that cheap fish stinks is universally applicable. Now, suppose that the practice of physic be reduced to a mere trade for lucre, and it is not difficult to conceive this ; nay, it is the inevitable consequence of bringing all the present denominations of practitioners under one head, and giving them all equal rank. If the man who has studied several years in an university, and qualified himself with every accomplishment which the best education this country affords, is to be upon the level of a five-years apprenticed apothecary, who has lived behind a shop-board, mixed up and dispensed medicines according to the order of his master, attended as many lectures as may enable him to pass an examination, and to be licensed as soon as he has attained the limited age; why, then, in a few years there will be none but the lower order of practitioners. No man will either pass through the labour, or be at the expense, of a better education, if he is neither to have superior station nor superior emolument. Conceive, then, the condition of gentlemen in the profession to be at an end, and the business of physic to have become a mere trade, in which there is a competition of tradesmen to supply the article of advice (and, let it be remembered, in the most anxious and dangerous conditions of life) at the cheapest rate. Bear in mind also, that the article sold to you is one of which you are no judge: what happens ? The informed and educated man, if such remain in existence, having become a mere trader, at once makes the best market of his article that he can, and having no longer any feeling of professional character, deals with his patients as he would do upon a bargain of Timber or of coals. Fears, anxieties, distressed feelings of relations, the miseries of sickness to the sufferer, are ample opportunities for making great bargains with individuals. A person of reputation for the cure of diseases under this free-trade system would not only have no scruples, but would think he did not do himself justice if he forbore to take advantage of such opportunities; as he who dealt in TIMBER or in COALS would avail himself of the rise in the market, to sell his goods. This is but a short hint at the evils of such a change- add to them another. The charitable assist ance which is afforded by all branches of the profession to the poor, or to persons in indifferent circumstances, would at once be stopped. For that high character for benevolence which has been cultivated in the profession of physic from the commencement of the institution of THE COLLEGE, and has, by the example afforded, teen diffused to all branches of medical practitioners, and raised the whole of the profession to a higher state