« PreviousContinue »
ficient bodily exercise destroys likewise SERM. their appetite, and banishes rest from their beds, and it is indubitable that the labouring man enjoys his homely meal and bed much more than the rich do their costly dainties and splendid apartments! You are not to imagine that the great look on their fine houses and gay equipages, and all the appurtenance which belong to grandeur, in the same light that you do: no; - a very little use renders all these things indifferent to them, and they inhabit their stately palaces, and roll along in their splendid carriages, receiving no more happiness from them than you do from your humble cottages, or from walking along by the wayside.
Another advantage which the poor have over the rich, is, the ease with which they put their children out into the world ;you are surprised, perhaps, but nothing is more true.
A poor man is under no difficulty in this respect while his children are very young indeed, he is sometimes hard put to it to maintain them; but as soon as they are arrived at maturity, their portion, health and strength, is ready for them, and these with the blessing of God will procure for them their livelihood. The matter is reversed with respect to the rich man; he provides for his offspring without much difficulty in their childhood, but the greatest distress is to settle them properly in the world! they must be settled in such a manner (at least if their happiness is consulted) as that their habits of life shall not be entirely different from what they have been in their parents house; and here is the difficulty, a.subject of anxiety with which every parent in the middle and higher ranks of life, who has a numerous offspring, is but too well acquainted.
I now pass to what I proposed in the
third place, to shew that supposing any SERM. violent convulsion in the state was to bring about a change of conditions, many would be made miserable by it, and none happy. If it could be supposed that this convulsion could really make all men equal, it requires but little foresight to perceive that it would at the same time make them all miserable! All subordination being done away, confusion, strife, and bloodshed, would unquestionably succeed! To these you may add famine; for, small as the quantity of land would be, which on a division would fall to each man's share, it would be impossible for him, for many reasons too obvious to mention, to give it the proper cultivation.
But this idea of equality is ridiculous. Suppose then that by some great convulsion, though inequality of property should continue, yet that property itself should change hands, that those now rich should become
SERM. become poor, those now poor should become rich; neither, I affirm, would gain by the exchange, the rich would certainly be made miserable, nor would it add to the happiness of the poor. Although, as I have said before, the luxuries, with which the rich man is surrounded, are no cause of felicity to him, yet if they were withdrawn from him, their loss would be severely felt he has probably been inured to them from his childhood, and, from long use, it would be death to him to relinquish them. Besides, if it be expected from him, that he get his livelihood and maintain his family by the labour of his hands, he must infallibly starve; for though originally he may have been gifted with the same strength and activity as the poor man, yet, from having been brought up to employments totally different, it is now utterly out of his power to exert them to any effectual purpose. Let me observe, however,
however, that the occupations of the la- SERM. bourer could not be more irksome to the
rich man, than the occupations of many of those called rich would be to him who has been all his life used to labour. The statesman, the lawyer, the clergyman, would make but bad figures at the plough, the spade, or the flail; but the labouring man would make quite as bad a figure, and would be still more out of his way in the senate, at the bar, or at his studies! We are all of us both more useful and more happy in the line to which we have been educated and accustomed. The breaking up of a man's habits of life always makes him miserable. This has frequently been seen when a poor man has been suddenly lifted into great riches: the novelty of it may, perhaps, at first have given him some sort of tumultuous satisfaction; but this is so soon over, that his time grows quite a burthen on his hands: his old compa