Imágenes de páginas

ftian, or that the want of this ceremony will precipitate thein into hell? The Lithuanians, before their conversion to Christianity, worshipped serpents, every fami-. ly entertaining one as a household god. Sigisinundus, in his commentaries of Mufa: covy, reports the following incident. A converted Christian having persuaded a neighbour to follow his example, and in token of his conversion to kill his serpent, was surprised at his next visit, to find his convert in the deepest melancholy, bitterly lamenting that he had murdered his god, and that the most dreadful calamities would befal him. Was this person a Christian more than nominally? At the end of the last century when Kempfer was in Japan, there remained but about fifty Japan Christians, who were locked up in prison for life. These poor people knew no more of the Chrisian religion, but the names of our Saviour and of the Virgin Mary;


so zealous Chriftians were they, as rather to die miserably in jail, than to renounce the name of Christ, and be ser at liberty. The inhabitants of the island Annaboa in the gulf of Guinea have been converted by the Portuguese to ChriVol. IV.



3 I

stianity. No more is required of them, as Bosman observes, but to repeat a Pater nofter and Ave Maria, confess to the priest, and bring offerings to him.

I cannot with fatisfaction conclude this. sketch, without congratulating my present countrymen of Britain, upon their knowledge of the intimate connection that true religion has with morality. May the importance of that connection, always at heart, excite us to govern every action of our lives by the united principles of morality and religion :- what a happy people would we be !




Sketches concerning SCOTLAND.



Scotch Entails considered in Moral and Pou

litical views.

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AN is by nature a hoarding animal; and to secure what is ac

quired by honest industry, the fenfe of

property is made a branch of human nature (a). During the infancy of

. nations, when artificial wants are unknown, the hoarding appetite makes no figure. The use of money produced a great alteration in the human heart. Money having at command the goods of fortune, introduced inequality of rank, luxury, and artificial wants without end.

(a) Book 1. sketch 2.

3 I 2


property, weak

No bounds are set to hoarding, where an appetite for artificial wants is indulged : love of money becomes the ruling pafsion: it is coveted by many in order to be hoarded; and means are absurdly converted into an end. The sense of


favages, ripens gradually till it arrives at maturity in polished nations. In every stage of the progress, some new power is added to property; and now for centuries, men have enjoy'd every power over their own goods, that a rational mind can defire (a): they have the free disposal during life ; and even after death, by naming an heir. These powers are sufficient for accomplishing every rational purpose : they are sufficient for commerce, and they are sufficient for benevolence. But the artificial wants of men are boundless : not content with the full enjoyment of their property dusing life, nor with the prospect of its being enjoy'd by a favourite heir, they are anxiously bent to preserve it to themselves for ever. A man who has amassed a great estate in land, is miserable at the (a) Historical Law-tracts, tract 3.




prospect of being obliged to quit his hold: to footh his diseased fancy, he makes a deed securing it for ever to certain heirs ; who must without end bear his


and preserve his estate entire. Death, it is true, must at last separate him from his idol : it is some consolation, however, that his will governs and gives law to every subsequent proprietor. How repugnant to the frail state of man, are such swollen conceptions ! Upon these however are founded entails, which have prevailed in many parts of the world, and unhappily at this day infest Scotland. Did entails produće no other mischief but the gratification of a distempered appetite, they might be endured, though far from deserving approbation : but, like other transgressions of nature and reason, they are productive of much mischief, not only to commerce, but to the very heirs for whose fake alone it is pretended that they are made.

Considering that the law of nature has beftow'd on man every power


property that is necessary either for commerce or for benevolence, 'how blind was it in the English legillature to add a moft irråtional Boj!07


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