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SKETCH OF THE ENGLISH AND FRENCH MANNBRS.
“Qui mores hominum multorum vidit.”
.... The English are generally esteemed to exceed in the use of animal food*; but after the recent importe ations of French emigrants of all classes, this position begins to be doubted. If stomachic diseases be really more frequent than in other countries, they may more justly be ascribed to our potations of heavy malt-liquor, which deservedly strikes foreigners as a singularity in English diet. Even our lightest liquors of that sort have not escaped their remark; for a late French traveller has observed, that the English commonly drink at their meals a sort of medical ptisan which they call small beer. Our ancestors prided themselves in the variety and richness of their ales; and old writers enumerate many sorts, as Cock, Stepney, Stitchback, Hull, Derby, Northdown, Nottingham, Sandback, betony, scurvy. grass, sage ale, college ale, China ale, Butler's ale, &c.; nor, even at present, do we refuse praise to the various qualities of our Burton, Dorchester, Taunton, Scottish, and other ales. But the most peculiar malt-beverage is porter, which ought to be solely composed of brown or high-dried malt, hops, liquorice, and sugar; but is
* Such is the observation of a late traveller, Nicolai Ka. rasmin: he asserts that “roast beef and beef steaks are the usual food of Englishmen," and hence, he adds, " their blood becomes thick, and themselves phlegmatic, melancholy, and not unfrequently self murderers."
sometimes debased by other ingredients: that of London is particularly famous, and is an article of exportation, being esteemed a luxury on the banks of the Delaware and of the Ganges. Punch was another national liquor, composed of spirits, water, acids, and sugar; but its use is now on the decline, though the
late Dr. Cullen esteemed it a salutary potation in a ein moist and variable climate. The prodigious consump
tion of tea is another peculiar feature, the use of this 12 plant being rare in other European countries; to phlega
'matic constitutions it may be beneficial; but, among the common classes, its enervating powers are often attempted to be corrected by the use of spirituous liquors. The latter bane has been long known in Russia, and other northern kingdoms; but in the milder climes of Great Britain and Ireland, is destructive of the health and morals of the people. The legislature has been often forced to interpose, to prevent the growth of drunkenness, wretchedness, and vice; and it is to be wished that a late committee of the House of Commons had sanctioned a motion that was made to restrict spirituous liquors to their ancient boundaries, the shops of the chemists,
The simplicity of the English cookery strikes foreigners as much as that of dress, which, even among the great, is very plain, except on the days of a court gala. A Frenchman drinks his wine during dinner; but the late Mr. Gibbon has remarked, that the luxury of a daily table in England permits a gentleman to taste half a dozen sorts of wine during dinner, and to drink his bottle of claret afterwards. The red wine of Portugal is, however, a greater favourite than that of France, as its astringent and antiseptic qualities are found highly salutary in a moist climate: A late French traveller (St. Fond) has remarked that the English know not the proper use of coffee, but will swallow several cups of a brown water, instead of one cup of the real strong coffee drank in other countries. · The houses in England are peculiarly commodious, neat, and cleanly; and domestic architecture seems here arrived at its greatest perfection. The dress, as has been before observed, is rather plain and neat, than splendid; a praise which also applies to that of the ladies, who have now abandoned the tight form, so prejudicial to health, and have assumed much of the Grecian ease and elegance. : The amusements of the theatre and of the field, and various games of skill or of chance, are common to most nations. The baiting of bulls and bears is, it is believed, nearly discontinued. One of the most peculiar amusements of the common people, is the ringing of long peals with many changes, which deafen those who are so unhappy as to live within the neighbourhood of the church.
The manners and customs of the French bave been so often delineated, that the theme is become trivial and familiar. The most pleasing parts of the portrait are vivacity, gaiety, politeness, a singular disposition towards social enjoyments, and that savoir vivre which enables the adept to dispose of his occupations and pleasures in an agreeable succession, free from listlessness or fatigue. In general, Frenchmen regard care as a mortal poison, and study, if possible, to avoid its
most distant approach. On the other hand, ancient - 11 and recent events conspire to fix a sanguinary stain on
the national character, which one would little expect te amid so much gaiety and seeming benevolence. The Bit causes of this incongruity might afford an ample sub
ject for philosophical enquiry. Even the violent changes cct which have taken place seem to have little affected their
characteristic gaiety, and Paris continues to be one of
* Mr. Pinkerton, the author of this picture of French manners, considers the present government of France as republican in form only: for he elsewhere describes it, as it really is, a "Military despotism, the despotism of freedom."
not unreasonable to hope that even virtue may become fashionable.
While some physicians have attempted to account for English melancholy from the quantities consumed of animal food, it appears, on the contrary, that a Frenchman will consume as much as two Englishmen; disguised, indeed, and modified, so as to beguile and stimulate the appetite to larger indulgence. In the difference of climate, therefore, and in the use of light wines, must be sought the chief physical causes of this discrepancy. The houses of the French often display a strange mixture of magnificence and nastiness: and while even a cottage in England will show attention to the comforts, conveniencies, feelings, and infirmities of human nature, in France the nose may be assailed, while the eyes are enraptured. France has long afforded models of dress to all Europe; nor have the fashions of Paris yet totally lost their fantastic authority. In the frequent and ridiculous allusions to the ancient republics, none of which bore the most distant resemblance of modern France, it was natural that the Grecian and Roman dress should afford models of imitation, and an infallible consequence that the dress would become more elegant. In a country where life itself is an amusement, it is to be expected that the diversions should be infinitely varied. In the capital, theatrical representations bear the chief sway, and every evening about twenty theatres are open, and full. Yet these republicans do not rival their favourite Greeks and Romans, in opening theatres and amphitheatres at the expence of government; an institution worthy of modern imitation, as to afford amusement to the peo