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down from their children's wounds, and the harmless creatures often expiring under the blows of the rod

4. The unnatural Resolution of Mothers. The courage of the Spartan mothers is admired, who instead of tenderness and tears upon the news of their sons being killed in battle, expressed a kind of joy. I should have been better pleased that natural affection had shewn itself upon such occasions, and that the love of their country had not entirely stifled the sentiments of the mother and the woman. One of our generals, who was told in the heat of battle, that his son was just slain, spoke far more wisely, “Let us now think, says he, of conquering our ene"mies, to-morrow I will lament my son.'

5. Ercessive Leisure. I cannot see how we can excuse Lycurgus for obliging the Lacedæmonians to pass their whole lives in idleness, except what they spent in war. He left all arts and trades to slaves and foreigners, who dwelt among them, and put nothing but the shield and

spear into the hands of the citizens. Without mentioning the danger of suffering the number of slaves required for the tilling of lands, to increase to such a degree, as to exceed that of their masters, which often occasioned seditions; into how many disorders must so much leisure throw persons always idle, without any daily employment, or regular business? It is an inconvenience at present too frequent amongst the gentry, and a natural consequence of their bad education. Except in time of war most of our gentlemen pass their lives in a manner entirely useless. They look upon agriculture, arts and trade, as things beneath them, and would think themselves dishonoured by them. They often know nothing but how to handle their arıns. They acquire but a superficial knowledge of the sciences, only just what they needs must; and several of them have no knowledge of thein at

all, all, nor the least taste for learning. No wonder there. fore that entertainments, cards and dice, huntingmatches, visiting and trifling conversations, should be their whole employment. A sad life for men of any understanding

6. Shame and Modesty absolutely neglected. But the most blamable circumstance in Lycurgus, is the little regard he had for shame and modesty, which shews us into what darkness and disorders the heathen were plunged. A Chỉistian master will not fail to set the holiness and purity of the gospel laws in opposition to that ynbounded licentiousness; and by this contrast display the dignity and excellence of Christianity.

This also may be done in as useful a manner by comparing the most valuable part of Lycurgus's laws with those of the gospel. It is indeed worthy admiration, that a whole people should consent to a division of lands, which put the poor upon an equal footing with the rich, and by the alteration of the money reduced themselves to a kind of poverty. But the legislator of Sparta, when he established these laws, had an armed force at his command. The legislator of the Christians said but one word. Blessed are the poor in spirit; and thousands of faithful in all afterages renounce their possessions, sell their lands, and leave all to follow Jesus Christ in poverty.



I have thought proper to treat this article separately, and with some extent; because, in my opinion, thel judgment generally given of it, does not seem sufficiently founded in the nature of things. This custom of the Lacedæmonians is severely condemned, as apt to incline youth to have little regard upon other occasions to the property of others, and as contrary to the law of nature and the decalogue. In the catalogue of crimes said to be tolerated in different nations, as incest among the Persians, the murder of old and infirm parents among the Indians, adultery amongother people, we generally find the theft of the Lacedæmonians, with an observation that among the [x] Scythians, a nation commonly considered as barbarous, and having no laws, without any other notion of justice than what was derived from natural instinct, theft was condemned and punished as one of the greatest crimes.

But can it reasonably be presumed, that one of the greatestof legislators should have expresslyauthorised so gross a disorder as thieving, whilst every little lawgiver, in all ages and countries, has been careful to punish it severely, even with death.

Plutarch, who mentions this custom in the life of Lycurgus, in the manners of the Lacedæmonians, and in several other places, never gives the least sign of disapprobation, though usually so equitable a judge -and so exact a moralist; nor do I recollect that

any of the ancients ever charged it as a crime upon Lycurgus or the Lacedæmonians.

Upon wbat then do the moderns found the sentence they pass upon it? Certainly upon not giving themselves the trouble of weighing the circumstances, and penetrating the motives of it.

1. [y] The Lacedæmonian youth never filched, but by order of their governor.

2.. They did it only at a particular time, and in virtue of the law.

3. They never stole any thing but garden-stuff and victuals, by way of supplement to their food, which was purposely given them in very small quantity. And thus all these thefts were considered as instances of dexterity, which were publicly allowed them for the procuring a larger share of provision. ;

4. The lawgiver had several reasons for permitting this kind of theft.

[*] Justitia gentis ingeniis culta, eos furto gravius. Just lib. 2. c. 2. non legibus. Nullum scelus apud [y] Plut, in Vit. Lycur.


His design was to make the possessors more careful in locking up and preserving their substance. -* And to make the boys more hardy and cunning, as designing them for the field. ";} 5: They gave them little food, that they might never be cloyed, never be too full, or clogged with fat, that they might be alert and nimble, learn to bear hunger; and have better and more regular health a

[2] But the principal motive was, that all these boys being designed for the army without exception, it was necessary to inure them early to a soldier's life, to teach them to live upon a little, to provide a subsistence for themselves withoutstanding in need of ammunition bread, to bear great fatigues, fasting to maintain themselves long with little provisions in a country where the enemy, accustomed to consume a great deal, must starve in a few days, or be foreed to quit their ground through the want of necessary provisions; whereas the Lacedæmonianscould find wherewithal to subsist without difficulty. This, thelegislatos, who was entirely a warrior, and had mo other view but to train up soldiers, was willing to provide for at a distance by their education, inuring them to great frugality, and sobriety, for want of which the generality of military expeditions miscarry, and the strongest armies are rendered incapable of maintaining their conquests. Insomuch that at present as luxury. and an expensive manner of living has multiplied the necessities of armies, the care which embarrasses the officers most in the provision of victuals; and the first obstacle which hinders their advancing into an enemy's country, is want of subsistence.

Thus our greatest generals consider the ease and expedition, with which immense armies transported themselves from one country to another, as the most singular and incredible circumstance in ancient history.

These are the advantages Lycurgus intended to pro- . cure for a warlike people; and he could not have chosen more effectual, nor more certain means. And [2] Instit. Lacon.

this is necessary for the understanding his law, and doing him justice. After all these observations, I question whether the Lacedæmonian youth were to be blamed for their theft, or obliged to make restitution. In this case they may easily be justified by still stronger and more solid reasons.

It is a certain principle, that from the first division of estates we possess nothing but dependently on the laws, and according to their dispositions; and that by giving up to each particular the enjoyment of that portion which has fallen to his share, the same laws may make such reserves and restrictions, and lay it under such services and burdens as they shall think most proper. Now the whole body of the Spartan state, when they accepted the laws of Lycurgus, did agree by a solemn compact, that upon the nine and thirty thousand lots distributed among the Spartans, the youth should be allowed to take such garden-stuff and victuals as the possessor had not a watchful eye: upon, without suffering them to complain of the robbery, or have an action against the robber. Thus we see, that whenever the boy was caught, he was not punishedas having committed an injustice, or seized upon another man's property, but for want of dexterity.

Such sort of reserves, and the like privileges granted upon the property of others, are very useful in all states. Thus God not only gave the poor a liberty of gathering grapes in the vineyards, of gleaning in the fields, and even of carrying off whole sheaves, but withal allowed every passenger the freedom of entering into another's vineyard, as often as he pleased, and of eating as many grapes as he would whether the master of the vineyard liked it or no. And God gives this reason for it, that the land of Israel was his, and the Israelites held it of him on this condition.

Services of this kind are established in other republics, without the least suspicion of any injustice. Soldiers have a right to lodge in private houses, to be subsisted in them on their march, or in their winter quarters, to be furnished with waggons and other necessa

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