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sensual gratification. It requires no proof, that, as riches accumulate, men are generally disposed to allow a larger scope to a wanton and capricious appetite. They will spread their tables, not only with superfluous abundance, but also with increasing variety and curiosity; and sometimes to a degree of extravagance, as if they meant to emulate that luxurious prince, who, to humour his palate, would provide himself with the tongues of singing birds, and the brains of pheasants, would eat no fish when he happened to be near the sea-coast, and no flesh at a distance from it; as if he thought that fare still the best which was most scarce or costly*. I am aware that this might as well arise from vanity as from a surfeited appetite; and should any one choose to resolve it into the former, it would yet serve to illustrate our general argument. A similar progress may be observed in other cases of animal indulgence. Instead of floors of bare earth, or covered with straw or rushes-}-, we come gradually to tread on
* Lampridius in vita Heliog.
warm and elegant carpets, and to stretch ourselves on beds of down instead of strawpallets, with a log of wood for a bolster*.
':5 '•: '. 0 . - '• . > :' •
mori in.Qugen Elizabeth's time, not excepting even her presence chamber." Lord Kaimes' Sketches of the History of Man, vol. Lp. 326.—" An old tenure in England binds the vassal to find straw for the king's bed, and hay for his horses." Id. vol. ii. p. 122.
* Molingshed, who wrote in the reign of Elizabeth, has the following passage in the preface to his history. .V There are. old men yet dwelling in the village where I remain, which have noted two things to be marvellously altered in England within their sound remembrance. One is the multitude of chimnies lately erected; whereas, in their young days, there were not above two or three, if so many, in most uplandish towns of the realm. The second is, the great amendment of lodging: For, said they, our fathers, and we ourselves, have laid full oft upon straw-pallets, with a good round log under . their head instead of a bolster. If it were so that the father, or the good man of the house, had a mattress or flock bed, and thereto a sack of chaff to rest his head upon, he thought himself to be as well lodged as the lord of the town: so well were they contented. Pillows, said they, were thought meet only for women in childbed." In this last opinion they have been followed at a much later period in the northern part of this island, if we may credit the following anecdote told by Lord Kaimes: "A knot of islanders," says he, "benighted,
Instances of grosser and more licentious indulgence I forbear to specify; as I have no mind to paint out scenes of low debauchery, to trace the haunts of lewdness and prostitution, or to dwell on -evils, which, in the present circumstances of the world, are, I fear, more to be lamented than remedied. , , .;
All these effects are much heightened bycompetition, in that state of society now under review; in which the opulent part of a nation is supposed to bear a considerable proportion to the whole. In this case, one rich citizen will vie with another in every form of ostentatious splendour and luxurious gratification.
Further: When a state is arrived at this point of wealth and refinement, its rich and pampered citizens will lay out for foreign
th e snow to sleep. A young gentleman, making up a ball of snow, used it for a pillow. His father (Sir Evan' Cameron) striking away the ball with his'foot. What* Sir, said he, are you turning effeminate?" TW$» indeed, is carrying the doctrine of indulgence to a point of rigour that would scarce be required in the hospice of
luxuries. After they have exhausted their own country, they will look to remote climes for fresh accessions; men-singers and women-singers will be imported to delight the ear; and every delicacy of land.and water will be procured to regale the palate; and earth and sea be ransacked to obtain some new indulgence to their pride or pleasure. How far all this may contribute even to their present enjoyment is extremely dubious; and no one will suppose that "it can be of use to improve their virtue. .” (II.) H we turn our view to the effects of wealth on the lower orders of society, we shall find them correspondent to those we have now described. " . . . . . . * * * ... l. As wealth, creates new wants, more labour will be required to satisfy them, and its rewards will be proportionable to the démarid. Many trades and handicrafts will be promoted, which in other circumstances would languish; or have no existence. And so far as this goés to furnish employment to such as before had none, or none sufficient for their subsistence; or to enable a sober style of living, or, with less anxiety, to live in the same style to which he had been accustomed; and, in addition to this, to lay up something against future contingencies; no man, who is not of more than ordinary severity, will consider such a result as either morally or politically injurious. . . ... . .
2. Other effects in this advanced stage
of society are less favourable. Many who are raised above their former mediocrity, or that condition of life in which they lived comfortably with moderate labour, will find it to their manifest detriment; as hereby they will be tempted, either to waste a part of their time in idle indulgence, (which is the case of many of our artizans at present, who in four days can earn the reward of six) or to raise their stated mode of living beyond what they are able to support. And these evils, will be increased by the contagious example of those above them; for though luxury begins, it will not long be confined among the higher orders; from the first it will descend to the second, till at length it reaches the labouring classes.