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It is unfortunate that the question of the right of volunteers to resign should have been started at this moment, and were it not that I believe that that part of the soldiery serve from principle, I should be seriously alarmed at the consequences of the knowledge given them by Mr. Erskine. I know that the fine sense and discrimination of that great lawyer, the orb of whose eye appears to contain the whole subject of his thoughts, and whose wonderful powers of celerity of association and combination of ideas bring him at once to the truth, will readily say " Why, if the volunteers consider themselves entrapped into a measure of service never accepted or agreed to by them, should they not be told what is the fact?" I know that if all of them were capable of judging of the moral and honourable nature of their engagements to the service, there would be but little to apprehend from their becoming lawyers; but Mr. Erskine, in his great knowledge of the human heart, and of human life and manners, knows very well how many a man there is who would avoid paying a just debt, if he were acquainted with the statute of limitations, the want of notice as an indorser, and numerous other nice points of law; and how many a man would defend just and honourable demands, and crowd our courts with unconscientious defences.
After all, the solution of the problem is, that weak and inefficient are the objects of compulsory service; and instead of fine, free, brave, and independent troops of volunteers, compulsion would create such wretched beings only as are denominated in the navy,“ the king's hard bargains," if it were not that they do not eat and drink at his expence.
But the honour of the volunteers is yet unsullied; it is not petty differences and nice distinctions that can affect the general character of those troops. The true policy would have been to have let all the disaffected, or discontented, have turned out. A captain of the navy, on some of his ship's company shewing a disposition to mutiny, because they wanted to go on shore, had all hands called, produced the muster books, and threatened to put the R* against the name of any man who did not immediately return to his duty--not one left the ship. Such should have been the high conduct of administration, and the yolunteer system would never have been weakened..'
The Man in the Moon has now to notice a dangerous epidemic, which seems to threaten the health of a great many minds throughout the kingdom of England, and to produce the re-establishment of ghosts and goblins; dreams are already re-invested with all their powers, and a certain lady has proved that there is no contending against their influence. There is a vanity in many people to permit mischief for the gratification of saying “ my dream is out;" and so as a thing is very remarkable, or very wonderful, it is a compensation for all that happens. We are, however, in some measure, obliged to these extraordinary personages, whose life, character, and behaviour entertain
* Signifying run.
the town with their surprising feats, and fanciful adventures. If they disturb common sense at all, it only serves to make us set the greater value on domestic quiet and reasonable conduct, to make virtue more admired, and the extravagancies of illicit amour more contemptible. It is deformity opposed to beauty, and the picture is of service to the morals of mankind.
How much, in the present times, are those things neglected which alone can charm and delight the wayward condition of man; the domestic fire side, the walk, the ride, the study, the entertainment of select friends, are utterly forsook for the brilliant excursions of vice and folly; there are certainly numerous fascinations to do wrong
:51 I know the right, and I approve it too,
But the most dangerous of any inducement is that of example: example colours the thing to our liking, and we become persuaded that there is no harm in it, when, in fact, the thing itself should be alone considered divested of all the dress and ornaments of folly, and the strength of precedent; we should then be able to say this is right, or this is wrong.
But the disposition of mankind to forsake his beneficial interests, unless they are pecuniary, is not new; he is not aware that the chief interest of life is PEACE,
and that there is nothing to be compared with a happy mind; there is not a sacrifice of vice or folly that does not increase the store of happiness. The idle, empty pursuits of dissipation create more than pecuniary difficulties; they sicken and destroy the animal functions, reason becomes impaired, and she yields from habit to accumulating inconsistencies, every one more absurd than the other. It is a misfortune that. men of great, and of even good minds, should so easily suffer the encroachments of vice to make the inroads they do upon the understanding against common sense, and against experience; the enchantments of pleasure put a spell upon the man who once adventures too far in her mazes. It is a labyrinth which few are able to extricate themselves from, and requires bold and prompt decision; when once the opening is seen, it will not do to hesitate, for hesitation generally leaves us where we set out. It should be recollected, that weakness and wickedness are nearly allied to each other.
The Editor of the Man in the Moon respectfully acquaints the Public, that
it will be published in future only once a week, viz. every Saturday,
MAN IN THE MOON.
Saturday, 4th Feb. 1804..
MR. MAN IN THE MOON, I AM one of those eccentric beings who do not altogether decide upon the question of right and wrong, on the principles of logic. I am weak enough to acknowledge that I allow of other forcible impressions, and derive much of my happiness from sensibility, which at times supplies me with numerous sources of gratification and delight through the incidental occurrences of life. I hope, nevertheless, that the oddity of my thoughts will not even offend the philosophy of the present day. I am sure modern philosophy will reject my propositions; but let it examine the premises engraven on the human heart, before it ventures to do it. I ask it to be allowed me, that the innumerable creatures of creation, induce the necessity of a CREATOR; and if this is allowed me, perhaps my opinions may not appear altogether so extravagant, Charity would open her arms still wider to embrace not only man in his comparative situations in life,