It is the great Advantage of a trading Nation, that there are very few in it so dull and heavy, who may not be placed in Stations of Life which may give them an Opportunity of making their Fortunes. A well-regulated Commerce is not, like Law, Physick or Divinity, to be overstocked with Hands; but, on the contrary, flourishes by Multitudes, and gives Employment to all its Professors. Fleets of Merchantmen are so many Squadrons of floating Shops, that vend our Wares and Manufactures in all the Markets of the World, and find out Chapmen under both the Tropicks.
[Footnote 1: At this time, and until the establishment of New Style, from 1752, the legal year began in England on the 25th of March, while legally in Scotland, and by common usage throughout the whole kingdom, the customary year began on the 1st of January. The Spectator dated its years, according to custom, from the first of January; and so wrote its first date March 1, 1711. But we have seen letters in it dated in a way often adopted to avoid confusion (1710-11) which gave both the legal and the customary reckoning. March 24 being the last day of the legal year 1710, in the following papers, until December 31, the year is 1711 both by law and custom. Then again until March 24, while usage will be recognizing a new year, 1712, it will be still for England (but not for Scotland) 1711 to the lawyers. The reform initiated by Pope Gregory XIII. in 1582, and not accepted for England and Ireland until 1751, had been adopted by Scotland from the 1st of January, 1600.
[This reform was necessary to make up for the inadequate shortness of the previous calendar (relative to the solar year), which had resulted in some months’ discrepancy by the eighteenth century.]]
[Footnote 2: [that]
[Footnote 3: In Dugdale’s ‘Origines Juridiciales’ we read how in the Middle Temple, on All Saints’ Day, when the judges and serjeants who had belonged to the Inn were feasted,
’the music being begun, the Master of the Revels was twice called. At the second call, the Reader with the white staff advanced, and began to lead the measures, followed by the barristers and students in order; and when one measure was ended, the Reader at the cupboard called for another.’]
[Footnote 4: See Sir W. Temple’s Essay on Heroic Virtue, Section 4.