THE schoolmen had formerly a very exact way of computing the abilities of their Saints or authors. Escobar, for instance, was said to have learning as five, genius as four, and gravity as seven. Caramuel was greater than he. His learning was as eight, his genius as six, and his gravity as thirteen. Were I to estimate the merits of our Chinese Philosopher by the same scale, I would not hesitate to state his genius still higher; but as to his learning and gravity, these I think might safely be marked as nine hundred and ninety nine, within one degree of absolute frigidity.

Yet upon his first appearance here, many were angry not to find him as ignorant as a Tripoline ambassador, or an Envoy from Mujac. They were surprized to find a man born so far from London, that school of pru­dence and wisdom, endued even with a moderate ca­pacity. They expressed the same surprize at hisknow­ledge that the Chinese do at ours. * How comes it, said they, that the Europeans, so remote from China, think with so much justice and precision? They have never read our books, they scarcely know even our let­ters, and yet they talk and reason just as we do. The truth is, the Chinese and we are pretty much alike. Different degrees of resinement, and not of distance, [Page iv] mark the distinctions among mankind. Savages of the most opposite climates, have all but one character of improvidence and [...]apacity; and tutored nations, how­ever separate, make use of the very same methods to procure refined enjoyment.

The distinctions of polite nations are few; but such as are peculiar to the Chinese, appear in every page of the following correspondence. The metaphors and allusions are all drawn from the East. Their formality our author carefully preserves. Many of their favou­rite tenets in morals are illustrated. The Chinese are always concise, so is he. Simple, so is he. The Chi­nese are grave and sententious, so is he. But in one particular, the resemblance is peculiarly striking: the Chinese are often dull; and so is he. Nor has my as­sistance been wanting. We are told in an old romance of a certain knight errant and his horse who contracted an intimate friendship. The horse most usually bore the knight, but, in cases of extraordinary dispatch, the knight returned the favour, and carried his horse. Thus in the intimacy between my author and me, he has usually given me a lift of his Eastern sublimity, and I have sometimes given him a return of my colloquial ease.

Yet it appears strange in this season of panegyric, when scarce an author passes unpraised either by his friends or himself, that such merit as our Philosopher's should be forgotten. While the epithets of ingenious, copious, elaborate, and refined, are lavished among the mob, like medals at a coronation, the lucky prizes fall on every side, but not one on him. I could on this occasion make myself melancholy, by considering the capriciousness of public taste, or the mutability of [Page v] fortune; but during this fit of morality, lest my reader should sleep, I'll take a nap myself, and when I awake tell him my dream.

I imagined the Thames was frozen over, and I stood by its side. Several booths were erected upon the ice, and I was told by one of the spectators, that FASHION FAIR was going to begin. He added, that every au­thor who would carry his works there, might probably find a very good reception. I was resolved, however, to observe the humours of the place in safety from the shore, sensible that ice was at best precarious, and having been always a little cowardly in my sleep.

Several of my acquaintance seemed much more hardy than I, and went over the ice with intrepidity. Some carried their works to the fair on sledges, some on carts, and those which were more voluminous, were convey­ed in waggons. Their temerity astonished me. I knew their cargoes were heavy, and expected every moment they would have gone to the bottom. They all entered the fair, however, in safety, and each soon after returned to my great surprize, highly satisfied with his entertainment, and the bargains he had brought away.

The success of such numbers at last began to ope­rate upon me. If these, cried I, meet with favour and safety, some luck may, perhaps, for once attend the unfortunate. I am resolved to make a new adven­ture. The furniture, frippery and fire-works of Chi­na, have long been fashionably bought up. I'll try the fair with a small cargoe of Chinese morality. If the Chinese have contributed to vitiate our taste, I'll try how far they can help to improve our understanding. [Page vi] But as others have driven into the market in waggons, I'll cautiously begin by venturing with a wheel-barrow. Thus resolved, I baled up my goods and fairly ventur­ed; when, upon just entering the fair, I fancied the ice that had supported an hundred waggons before, cracked under me; and wheel-barrow and all went to the bottom.

Upon awaking from my reverie, with the fright, I cannot help wishing that the pains taken in giving this correspondence an English dress, had been employed in contriving new political systems, or new plots for far­ces. I might then have taken my station in the world, either as a poet or a philosopher; and made one in those little societies where men club to raise each others repu­tation. But at present I belong to no particular class. I remember one of those solitary animals, that has been forced from its forest to gratify human curiosity. My earliest wish was to escape unheeded through life; but I have been set up for half-pence, to fret and scamper at the end of my chain. Tho' none are injured by my rage, I am naturally too savage to court any friends by fawning. Too obstinate to be taught new tricks; and too improvident to mind what may happen, I am appeased, though not contented. Too indolent for iatrigue, and too timid to push favour, I am—But what signifies what I am.

Fortune and Hope Adieu! I see my Port,
Too long your d [...]pe; be others now your Sport.


To Mr. **** Merchant in London.


YOURS of the 13th instant, covering two bills. one on Messrs. R. and D. value 478l. 10s. and the other on Mr. ****, value 285l. duly came to hand, the former of which met with honour, but the other has been trifled with, and I am afraid will be re­turned protested.

The bearer of this is my friend, therefore let him be yours. He is a native of Honan in China, and one who did me signal services when he was a mandarine, and I a factor at Canto [...]. By frequently conversing with English there, he has learned the language, though intirely a stranger to their manners and customs. I am told he is a philosopher, I am sure he is an honest [Page 8] man; that to you will be his best recommendation, next to the consideration of his being the friend of, Sir,

Yours, &c

Lond. From Lien Cbi Altangi to ****, Merchant in Amsterdam.

Friend of my heart,

MAY the wings of peace rest upon thy dwelling, and the shield of conscience preserve thee from vice and misery: for all thy favours accept my grati­tude and esteem, the only tributes a poor philosophic wanderer can return; sure fortune is resolved to make me unhappy, when she gives others a power of testify­ing their friendship by actions, and leaves me only words to express the sincerity of mine.

I am perfectly sensible of the delicacy by which you endeavour to lessen your own merit and my obligations. By calling your late instances of friendship only a return [...] former favours, you would induce me to impute to your justice what I owe to your generosity.

The services I did you at Canton, justice, huma­nity, and my office bade me perform; those you have done me since my arrival at Amsterdam, no laws obli­ged you to, no justice required, even half your favours would have been greater than my most sanguine ex­pectations.

The sum of money therefore which you privately conveyed into my baggage, when I was leaving Hol­land, [Page 9] and which I was ignorant of till my arrival in London, I must beg leave to return. You have been bred a merchant, and l a scholar; You consequently love money better than I. You can find pleasure in superfluity, I am perfectly contented with what is suf­ficient; take therefore what is yours, it may give you some pleasure, even though you have no occasion to use it; my happiness it cannot improve, for I have already all that I want.

My passage by sea from Rotterdam to England, was more painful to me than all the journies I ever made on land. I have traversed the immeasurable wilds of Mo­gul Tartary; felt all the rigours of Siberian skies; I have had my repose an hundred times disturbed by in­vading savages, and have seen without shrinking the desart sands rise like a troubled ocean all around me; against these calamities I was armed with resolution; but in my passage to England, though nothing occurred that gave the mariners any uneasiness, yet to one who was never at sea before, all was a subject of astonish­ment and terror. To find the land disappear, to see our ship mount the waves quick as an arrow from the Tartar bow, to hear the wind howling through the cordage, to feel a sickness which depresses even the spi­rits of the brave; these were unexpected distresses, and consequently assaulted me unprepared to receive them.

You men of Europe think nothing of a voyage by sea. With us of China, a man who has been from sight of land is regarded upon his return with admira­tion. I have known some provinces where there is not even a name for the ocean. What a strange people therefore am I got amongst, who have founded an [Page 10] empire on this unstable element, who build cities upon billows that rise higher than the mountains of Tiparta­la, and make the deep more formidable than the wild­est tempest.

Such accounts as these, I must confess, were my first motives for seeing England. These induced me to un­dertake a journey of seven hundred painful days, in order to examine into opulence, buildings, sciences, arts and manufactures on the spot. Judge then how great is my disappointment on entering London, to see no signs of that opulence so much talked of abroad? wherever I turn, I am presented with a gloomy so­lemnity in the houses, the streets and the inhabitants; none of that beautiful gilding which makes a priacipal ornament in Chinese architecture. The streets of Nan­kin are sometimes strewed with gold-leaf; very diffe­rent are those of London: in the midst of their pave­ments, a great lazy puddle moves muddily along; heavy laden machines with wheels of unweildy thickness crowd up every passage; so that a stranger, instead of finding time for observation, is often happy if he has time to escape from being crushed to pieces.

The houses borrow very few ornaments from archi­tecture; their chief decoration seems to be a paltry piece of painting, hung out at the doors or windows, at once a proof of their indigence and vanity. Their vanity, in each having one of those pictures exposed to public view; and their indigence, in being unable to get them better painted. In this respect, the fancy of their painters is also deplorable. Could you believe it? I have seen five black lions and three blue boars in less than a circuit of half a mile; and yet you know that animals of these colours are no where to be found ex­cept in the wild imaginations of Europe.

[Page 11] From these circumstances in their buildings, and from the dismal look of the inhabitants, I am induced to conclude that the nation is actually poor; and that like the Persians, they make a splendid figure every where but at home. The proverb of Xixofou is, that a man's riches may be seen in his eyes; if we judge of the English by this rule, there is not a poorer nation un­der the sun.

I have been here but two day, so will not be hasty in my decisions; such letters as I shall write to Fipsihi in Moscow, I beg you'll endeavour to forward with all diligence; I shall send them open, in order that you may take copies or translations, as you are equally ver­sed in the Dutch and Chinese languages. Dear friend, think of my absence with regret, as I sincerely regret yours; even while I write, I lament our separation.


From Lien Chi Altangi, to the care of Fipsihi, resident in Moscow; to be forwarded by the Russian caravan to Fum Hoam, first president of the ceremonial aca­demy at Pekin in China.

THINK not, O thou guide of my youth, that absence can impair my respect, or interposing trackless desarts blot your reverend figure from my me­mory. The farther I travel I feel the pain of separa­tion with stronger force, those ties that bind me to my native country, and you, are still unbroken. By every remove, I only drag a greater length of chain.

[Page 12] Could I find aught worth transmitting from so re­mote a region as this to which I have wandered, I should gladly send it; but instead of this, you must be contented with a renewal of my former professions, and an imperfect account of a people with whom I am as yet but superficially acquainted. The remarks of a man who has been but three days in the country can only be those obvious circumstances which force themselves upon the imagination: I consider myself here as a newly created Being introduced into a new world; every object strikes with wonder and surprise. The imagination still unsated, seems the only active prin­ciple of the mind. The most trifling occurrences give pleasure, till the gloss of novelty is worn away. When I have ceased to wonder, I may possibly grow wise; I may then call the reasoning principle to my aid, and compare those objects with each other, which were be­fore examined without reflection.

Behold me then in London, gazing at the strangers, and they at me; it seems they find somewhat absurd in my figure; and had I been never from home it is pos­sible I might find an infinite fund of ridicule in theirs; but by long travelling I am taught to laugh at folly alone, and to find nothing truly ridiculous but villainy and vice.

When I had just quitted my native country, and crossed the Chinese wall, I fancied every deviation from the customs and manners of China was a departing from nature: I smiled at the blue lips and red foreheads of the Tonguese; and could hardly contain when I saw the Daures dress their heads with horns. The Ostiacs powdered with red earth; and the Calmuck beauties tricked out in all the finery of sheep-skin appeared [Page 13] highly ridiculous; but I soon perceived that the ridi­cule lay not in them but in me; that I falsely con­demned others of absurdity; because they happened to differ from a standard originally founded in prejudice or partiality.

I find no pleasure therefore in taxing the English with departing from nature in their external appearance, which is all I yet know of their character: it is possible they only endeavour to improve her simple plan, since every extravagance in dress proceeds from a desire of becoming more beautiful than nature made us: and this is so harmless a vanity, that I not only pardon but approve it: A desire to be more excellent than others is what actually makes us so, and as thousands find a livelihood in society by such appetites, none but the [...]gnorant inveigh against them.

You are not insensible, most reverend Fum Hoam, what numberless trades, even among the Chinese, sub­sist by the harmless pride of each other. Your nose­borers, feet swathers, tooth-stainers, eye-brow pluckers, would all want bread, should their neighbours want vanity. These vanities, however, employ much fewer hands in China than in England; and a fine gentleman, or a fine lady here, dressed up in the fashion, seems scarcely to have a single limb that does not suffer some distortions from art.

To make a fine gentleman, several trades are re­quired, but chiefly a barber: you have undoubtedly heard of the Jewish champion whose strength lay in his hair: one would think that the English were for placing all wisdom there: To appear wise, nothing [Page 14] more is requisite here than for a man to borrow hair from the heads of all his neighbours, and clap it like a bush on his own: the distributors of law and physic stick on such quantities, that it is almost impossible, even in idea, to distinguish between the head and the hair.

Those whom I have now been describing, affect the gravity of the lion: those I am going to describe more resemble the pert vivacity of smaller animals. The barber, who is still master of the ceremonies, cuts their hair close to the crown; and then with a composition of meal and hog's lard, plasters the whole in such a man­ner, as to make it impossible to distinguish whether the patient wears a cap or a plaister; but to make the picture more perfectly striking, conceive the tail of some beast, a greyhound's tail, or a pig's tail for instance, appended to the back of the head, and reaching down to that place where tails in other animals are generally seen to begin; thus betailed and bepowdered, the man of taste fancies he improves in beauty, dresses up his hard-featured face in smiles, and attempts to look hi­deously tender. Thus equipped, he is qualified to make love, and hopes for success more from the powder on the outside of his head, than the sentiments within.

Yet when I consider what sort of a creature the fine lady is, to whom he is supposed to pay his addresses, it is not strange to find him thus equipped in order to please. She is herself every whit as [...]ond of powder, and [...]ils, and hog's lard as he: to speak my secret sen­timents, most reverend Fum, the ladies here are hor­ridly ugly; I can hardly endure the sight of them; they no way resemble the beauties of China: the Eu­ropeans have a quite different idea of beauty from us; [Page 15] when I reflect on the small footed perfections of an Eastern beauty, how is it possible I should have eye for a woman whose feet are ten inches long. I shall never forget the beauties of my native city of Nangfew. How very broad their faces; how very short their no­ses; how very little their eyes; how very thin their lips; how very black their teeth; the snow on the tops of Bao is not fairer than their cheeks; and their eye-brows are small as the line by the pencil of Quamsi. Here a lady with such perfections would be fright­ful; Dutch and Chinese beauties indeed have some re­semblance, but English women are entirely different; red cheeks, big eyes, and teeth of a most odious white­ness, are not only seen here, but wished for; and then they have such masculine feet, as actually serve some for walking!

Yet uncivil as nature has been, they seem resolved to outdo her in unkindness; they use white powder, blue powder, and black powder for their hair, and a red powder for the face on some particular occasions.

They like to have the face of various colours, as among the Tartars of Koreki, frequently sticking on, with spittle, little black patches on every part of it, except on the tip of the nose, which I have never seen with a patch. You'll have a better idea of their man­ner of placing these spots, when I have finish'd a map of an English face patch'd up to the fashion, which shall shortly be sent to encrease your curious collection of paintings, medals, and monsters.

But what surprizes more than all the rest, is, what I have just now been credibly informed by one of this country; "Most ladies here, says he, have two faces; [Page 16] one face to sleep in, and another to shew in company: the first is generally reserved for the husband and family at home, the other put on to please strangers abroad; the family face is often indifferent enough, but the out-door one looks [...]omething better; this is always made at the toilet, where the looking-glass, and toad-eater sit in council and settle the complexion of the day.

I can't ascertain the truth of this remark; however, it is actually certain, that they wear more cloaths within doors than without; and I have seen a lady who seem'd to shudder at a breeze in her own appartment, appear half naked in the streets.


To the same.

THE English seem as silent as the Japonese, yet vainer than the inhabitants of Siam. Upon my arrival I attributed that reserve to modesty, which I now find has its origin in pride. Condescend to address them first, and you are sure of their acquaintance; stoop to flattery, and you conciliate their friendship and esteem. They bear hunger, cold, fatigue, and all the miseries of life without shrinking; danger only calls forth their fortitude; they even exult in calamity; but contempt is what they cannot bear. An Englishman fears contempt more than death; he often flies to death as a refuge from its pressure; and dies when he fancies the world has ceased to esteem him.

Pride seems the source not only of their national vi­ces, [Page 17] but of their national virtues also. An Englishman is taught to love his king as his friend, but to acknowledge no other master than the laws which himself has contri­buted to enact. He despises those nations, who, that one may be free, are all content to be slaves; who, first lift a tyrant into terror, and then shrink under his pow­er as if delegated from heaven. Liberty is ecchoed in all their assemblies, and thousands might be found rea­dy to offer up their lives for the sound, though per­haps not one of all the number understands its meaning. The lowest mechanic however looks upon it as his duty to be a watchful guardian of his country's free­dom, and often uses a language that might seem haugh­ty, even in the mouth of the great emperor who traces his ancestry to the moon.

A few days ago, passing by one of their prisons, I could not avoid stopping, in order to listen to a dialogue which I thought might afford me some entertainment. The conversation was carried on between a debtor through the grate of his prison, a porter, who had stopped to rest his burthen, and a soldier at the win­dow. The subject was upon a threatened invasion from France, and each seemed extremely anxious to rescue his country from the impending danger. "For my part, cries the prisoner, the greatest of my appre­hensions is for our freedom; if the French should con­quer, what would become of English liberty. My dear Friends, liberty is the Englishman's prerogative; we must preserve that at the expence of our lives, of that the French shall never deprive us; it is not to be ex­pected that men who are slaves themselves, would pre­serve our freedom should they happen to conquer. Ay, slaves, cries the porter, they are all slaves, fit only to carry burthens every one of them. Before I would [Page 18] stoop to slavery, may this be my poison (and he held the goblet in his hand) may this be my poison—but I would sooner list for a soldier.

The soldier taking the goblet from his friend, with much awe servently cried out, It is not so much our li­berties as our religion that would suffer by such a change. Ay our religion, my lads. May the Devil sink me into flames, (such was the solemnity of his adjuration) if the French should come over, but our religion would be utterly undone. So saying, instead of a libation, he applied the goblet to his lips, and con­firmed his sentiments with a ceremony of the most per­severing devotion.

In short, every man here pretends to be a politi­cian; even the fair sex are sometimes found to mix the severity of national altercation, with the blandish­ments of love, and often become conquerors by more weapons of destruction than their eyes.

This universal passion for politicks is gratified by Dai­ly Gazettes, as with us at China. But as in ours, the emperor endeavours to instruct his people, in theirs the people endeavour to instruct the administration. You, must not, however, imagine, that they who compile these papers have any actual knowledge of the politics, or the government of a state; they only col­lect their materials from the oracle of some coffee­house, which oracle has himself gathered them the night before from a beau at a gaming table, who has pillaged his knowledge from a great man's porter, who has had his information from the great man's gentleman, who has invented the whole story for his own amuse­ment the night preceding.

[Page 19] The English in general seem fonder of gaining the esteem than the love of those they converse with: this gives a formality to their amusements; their gayest conversations have something too wise for innocent re­laxation; though in company you are seldom disgusted with the absurdity of a fool; you are seldom lifted in­to rapture by those strokes of vivacity which give in­stant, though not permanent pleasure.

What they want, however, in gaiety, they make up in politeness. You smile at hearing me praise the English for their politeness; you who have heard very different accounts from the missionaries at Pekin, who have seen such a different behaviour in their merchants and seamen at home. But I must still repeat it, the English seem more polite than any of their neighbours: their great art in this respect lies in endeavouring, while they oblige, to lessen the force of the favour. Other countries are [...]ond of obliging a stranger; but seem desirous that he should be sensible of the obliga­tion. The English confer their kindness with an ap­pearance of indifference, and give away benefits with an air as if they despised them.

Walking a few days ago between an English and a Frenchman into the suburbs of the city, we were overtaken by a heavy shower of rain. I was unpre­pared; but they had each large coats, which defended them from what seemed to me a perfect inundation. The Englishman seeing me shrink from the weather, accosted me thus: "Psha, man, what dost shrink at? here, take this coat; I don't want it; I find it no way useful to me; I had as lief be without it." The Frenchman began to shew his politeness in turn. "My dear friend," cries he, "why wen't you oblige me by [Page 20] making use of my coat; you see how well it defends me from the rain; I should not chuse to part with it to others, but to such a friend as you, I could even part with my skin to do him service."

From such minute instances as these, most reverend Fum Hoam, I am sensible your sagacity will collect in­struction. The volume of nature is the book of know­ledge; and he becomes most wise who makes the most judicious selection.


To the same.

I Have already informed you of the singular passion of this nation for politicks. An Englishman not satisfied with finding by his own prosperity the con­tending powers of Europe properly balanced, desires also to know the precise value of every weight in either scale. To gratify this curiosity, a leaf of political in­struction is served up every morning with tea: When our politician has feasted upon this, he repairs to a coffee-house, in order to ruminate upon what he has read, and encrease his collection; from thence he pro­ceeds to the ordinary, enquires what news, and trea­suring up every acquisition there, hunts about all the evening in quest of more, and carefully adds it to the rest. Thus at night he retires home, full of the im­portant advices of the day. When lo! awaking next morning, he finds the instructions of yesterday a col­lection of absurdity or palpable falsehood, This, one would think, a mortifying repulse in the pursuit of wisdom; yet our politician no way discouraged, hunts [Page 21] on, in order to collect fresh materials, and in order to be again disappointed.

I have often admired the commercial spirit which prevails over Europe; have been surprised to see them carry on a traffic with productions, that an Asiatic stranger would deem entirely useless. It is a proverb in China, that an European suffers not even his spittle to be lost; the maxim, however is not sufficiently strong; since they [...]ell even their Lies to great advantage. E­very nation drives a considerable trade in this commo­dity with their neighbours.

An English dealer in this way, for instance, has only to ascend to his workhouse, and manufacture a tur­bulent speech averred to be spoken in the senate; or a report supposed to be dropt at court; a piece of scandal that strikes at a popular Mandarine; or a secret treaty between two neighbouring powers. When finished, these goods are baled up, and consigned to a factor abroad, who sends in return two battles, three sieges, and a shrewd letter filled with dashes — blanks [...] and stars **** of great importance.

Thus you perceive, that a single gazette is the joint manufacture of Europe; and he who would peruse it with a philosophical eye, might perceive in every para­graph something characteristick of the nation to which it belongs. A map does not exhibit a more distinct view of the boundaries and situation of every country, than its news does a picture of the genius, and the mo­rals of its inhabitants. The superstition and erroneous delicacy of Italy, the formality of Spain, the cruelty of Portugal, the fears of Austria, the confidence of Prus­sia, the levity of France, the avarice of Holland, the [Page 22] pride of England, the absurdity of Ireland, and the national partiality of Scotland, are all conspicuous in every page.

But, perhaps, you may find more satisfaction in a real news paper, than in my description of one; I therefore send a specimen, which may serve to exhibit the man­ner of their being written, and distinguish the charac­ters of the various nations which are united in its com­position.

NAPLES. We have lately dug up here a curious Etruscan monument, broke in two in the raising. The characters are scarce visible; but Nugosi, the learned antiquary, supposes it to have been erected in honour of Picus, a Latin King, as one of the lines may be plainly distinguished to begin with a P. It is hoped this discovery will produce something valuable, as the lite­rati of our twelve academies are deeply engaged in the disquisition.

PISA. Since father Fudgi, prior of St. Gilbert's, has gone to reside at Rome, no miracles have been per­formed at the shrine of St. Gilbert; the devout begin to grow uneasy, and some begin actually to fear that St. Gilbert has forsaken them with the reverend fa­ther.

LUCCA. The administrators of our serene republic, have frequent conferences upon the part they shall take in the present commotions of Europe. Some are for sending a body of their troops, consisting of one com­pany of foot, and six horsemen, to make a diversion in favour of the empress-queen; others are as strenuous assertors of the Prussian interest: what turn these de­bates [Page 23] may take, time only can discover. However, certain it is, we shall be able to bring into the field at the opening of the next campaign, seventy-five armed men, a commander in chief, and two drummers of great experience.

SPAIN. Yesterday the new king shewed himself to his subjects, and after having staid half an hour in his balcony, retired to the royal apartment. The night concluded on this extraordinary occasion with illumina­tions, and other demonstrations of joy.

The queen is more beautiful than the rising sun, and reckoned one of the first wits in Europe: she had a glorious opportunity of displaying the readiness of her invention, and her skill in repartee lately at court. The duke of Lerma, coming up to her with a low bow and a smile, and presenting a nosegay set with diamonds, Madam, cries he, I am your most obedient humble ser­vant. Oh, Sir, replies the queen, without any prompter, or the least hesitation, I'm very proud of the very great honour you do me. Upon which she made a very low curtesy, and all the courtiers fell a laughing at the readiness and the smartness of her reply.

LISBON. Yesterday we had an auto da fe, at which were burned three young women accused of heresy, one of them of exquisite beauty? two Jews, and an old woman, convicted of being a witch: One of the friars, who attended this last, reports, that he saw the devil fly out of her at the stake in the shape of a flame of fire. The populace behaved on this occasion with great good humour, joy and sincere devotion.

[Page 24] Our merciful Sovereign has been for some time past recovered of his fright: though so attrocious an at­tempt deserved to exterminate half the nation, yet he has been graciously pleased to spare the lives of his sub­jects, and not above five hundred have been broke upon the wheel, or otherwise executed upon this hor­rid occasion.

VIENNA. We have received certain advices that a party of twenty thousand Austrians, having attacked a much superior body of Prussians, put them all to flight, and took the rest prisoners of war.

BERLIN. We have received certain advices that a party of twenty thousand Prussians having attacked a much superior body of Austrians, put them to flight, and took a great number of prisoners, with their mili­tary chest, cannon, and baggage.

Though we have not succeeded this campaign to our wishes; yet, when we think of him who commands us, we rest in security: while we sleep, our king is watch­ful for our safety.

PARIS. We shall soon strike a signal blow. We have seventeen flat-bottom'd boats at Havre. The people are in excellent spirits, and our ministers make no difficulty of raising the supplies.

We are all undone; the people are discontented to the last degree; the ministers are obliged to have re­course to the most rigorous methods to raise the ex­pences of the war.

[Page 25] Our distresses are great; but madam Pompadour continues to supply our king, who is now growing old, with a fresh lady every night. His health, thank hea­ven, is still pretty well; nor is he in the least unfit, as was reported, for any kind of royal exercitation. He was so frighted at the affair of Damien, that his phy­sicians were apprehensive lest his reason should suffer, but that wretch's tortures soon composed the kingly terrors of his breast.

ENGLAND. Wanted an usher to an academy. N. B. He must be able to read, dress hair, and must have had the small pox.

DUBLIN. We hear that there is a benevolent sub­scription on foot among the nobility and gentry of this kingdom, who are great patrons of merit, in order to assist Black and All Black, in his contest with the Pad­dereen mare.

We hear from Germany that Prince Ferdinand has gained a complete victory, and taken twelve kettle drums, five standards, and four waggons of ammuni­tion prisoners of war.

EDINBURGH. We are positive when we say that Saunders M'Gregor who was lately executed for horse­stealing, is not a Scotchman, but born in Carrickfergus.


Fum Hoam, first president of the ceremonial academy at Pekin, to Lien Chi Altangi, the discontented wan­derer; by the way of Moscow.

WHETHER sporting on the flowery banks of the river Irtis, or scaling the steepy moun­tains of Douchenour: Whether traversing the black deserts of Kobi, or giving lessons of politeness to the savage inhabitants of Europe. In whatever country, whatever climate, and whatever circumstances, all hail! May Tien, the universal soul, take you under his protection, and inspire you with a superior portion of himself.

How long, my friend, shall an enthusiasm for know­ledge continue to obstruct your happiness, and tear you from all the connexions that make life pleasing? How long will you continue to rove from climate to climate, circled by thousands, and yet without a friend, feeling all the inconveniencies of a croud, and all the anxiety of being alone.

I know you will reply, that the refined pleasure of growing every day wiser, is a sufficient recompence for every inconvenience. I know you will talk of the vul­gar satisfaction of soliciting happiness from sensual en­joyment only; and probably enlarge upon the exquisite raptures of sentimental bliss. Yet, believe me, friend, you are deceived; all our pleasures, though seemingly never so remote from sense, derive their origin from some one of the senses. The most exquisite demonstra­tion in mathematics, or the most pleasing disquisition in metaphysics, if it does not ultimately tend to increase [Page 27] some sensual satisfaction, is delightful only to fools, or to men who have by long habit contracted a false idea of pleasure; and he who separates sensual and senti­mental enjoyments, seeking happiness from mind alone, is in fact as wretched as the naked inhabitant of the fo­rest, who places all happiness in the first, regardless of the latter. There are two extremes in this respect; the savage who swallows down the draught of pleasure without staying to reflect on his happiness, and the sage who passeth the cup while he reflects on the conveni­encies of drinking.

It is with an heart full of sorrow, my dear Altangi, that I must inform you that what the world calls hap­piness must now be yours no longer. Our great em­peror's displeasure at your leaving China, contrary to the rules of our government, and the immemorial cus­tom of the empire, has produced the most terrible ef­fects. Your wife, daughter, and the rest of your fa­mily have been seized by his order, and appropriated to his use; all except your son are now the peculiar pro­perty of him who possesses all; him I have hidden from the officers employed for-this purpose; and even at the hazard of my life I have concealed him. The youth seems obstinately bent on finding you out, wherever you are; he is determined to face every danger that opposes his pursuit. Though yet but fifteen, all his father's virtues and obstinacy sparkle in his eyes, and mark him as one destined to no mediocrity of fortune.

You see, my dearest friend, what imprudence has brought thee to; from opulence, a tender family, sur­rounding friends, and your master's esteem, it has re­duced thee to want, persecution; and still worse, to our mighty monarch's displeasure. Want of prudence [Page 28] is too frequently the want of virtue; nor is there on earth a more powerful advocate for vice than poverty. As I shall endeavour to guard thee from the one, so guard thyself from the other; and still think of me with affection and esteem.


From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first president of the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China.

The Editor thinks proper to acquaint the reader, that the greatest part of the following letter seems to him to be little more than a rhapsody of sentences borrowed from Confucius, the Chinese philosopher.

A Wife, a daughter carried into captivity to ex­piate my offence, a son scarce yet arrived at ma­turity, resolving to encounter every danger in the pious pursuit of one who has undone him, these indeed are circumstances of distress; tho' my tears were more pre­cious than the gem of Golconda, yet would they fall upon such an occasion.

But I submit to the stroke of heaven, I hold the vo­lume of Confucius in my hand, and as I read grow humble and patient, and wise. We should [...]eel sorrow, says he, but not sink under its oppression; the heart of a wise man should resemble a mirrour, which reflects every object without being sullied by any. The wheel of fortune turns incessantly round, and who can say within himself I shall to day be uppermost. We should hold the immutable mean that lies between insensibility and anguish; our attempts should be not to extinguish [Page 29] nature, but to repress it; not to stand unmoved at dis­tress, but endeavour to turn every disaster to our own advantage. Our greatest glory is, not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

I fancy myself at present, O thou reverend disciple of Tao, more than a match for all that can happen; the chief business of my life has been to procure wis­dom, and the chief object of that wisdom was to be happy. My attendance on your lectures, my confer­ences with the missionaries of Europe, and all my sub­sequent adventures upon quitting China, were calcu­lated to increase the sphere of my happiness, not my curiosity. Let European travellers cross seas and de­serts merely to measure the height of a mountain, to describe the cataract of a river, or tell the commodi­ties which every country may produce; merchants or geographers, perhaps, may find profit by such dis­coveries, but what advantage can accrue to a philoso­pher from such accounts, who is desirous of under­standing the human heart, who seeks to know the men of every country, who desires to discover those dif­ferences which result from climate, religion, educa­tion, prejudice, and partiality.

I should think my time very ill bestowed, were the only fruits of my adventures to consist in being able to tell, that a tradesman of London lives in a house three times as high as that of our great Emperor. That the ladies wear longer cloaths than the men, that the priests are dressed in colours which we are taught to detest, and that their soldiers wear scarlet, which is with us the symbol of peace and innocence. How many travellers are there, who confine their relations to such minute [Page 30] and useless particulars; for one who enters into the ge­nius of those nations, with whom he has conversed, who discloses their morals, their opinions, the ideas which they entertain of religious worship, the intrigues of their ministers, and their skill in sciences; there are twenty, who only mention some idle particulars, which can be of no real use to a true philosopher. All their remarks tend, neither to make themselves nor others more happy; they no way contribute to control their passions, to bear adversity, to inspire true virtue, or [...] a detestation of vice.

Men may be very learned, and yet very miserable; it is easy to be a deep geometrician, or a sublime astro­nomer, but very difficult to be a good man; I esteem, therefore, the traveller who instructs the heart, but despise him who only indulges the imagination; a man who leaves home to mend himself and others is a philosopher; but he who goes from country to country, guided by the blind impulse of curiosity, is only a vagabond. From Zerdusht down to him of Tyanea, I honour all those great names who endea­voured to unite the world by their travels; such men grew wiser as well as better, the farther they departed from home, and seemed like rivers, whose streams are not only encreased, but refined, as they travel from their source.

For my own part, my greatest glory is, that travel­ling has not more steeled my constitution against all the vicissitudes of climate, and all the depressions of fa­tigue, than it has my mind against the accidents of for­tune, or the accesses of despair.


From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first president of the Ceremonial Acdemy at Pekin, in China.

HOW insupportable! oh thou possessor of hea­venly wisdom, would be this separation, this im­measurable distance from my friends were I not able thus to delineate my heart upon paper, and to send thee daily a map of my mind.

I am every day better reconciled to the people among whom I reside, and begin to fancy that in time I shall find them more opulent, more charitable, and more hospitable than I at first imagined. I begin to learn somewhat of their manners and customs, and to see reasons for several deviations which they make from us, from whom all other nations derive their politeness as well as their original.

In spite of taste, in spite of prejudice, I now begin to thnk their women tolerable; I can now look on a languishing blue eye without disgust, and pardon a set of teeth, even though whiter than ivory. I now begin to fancy there is no universal standard for beauty. The truth is, the manners of the ladies in this city are so very open, and so vastly engaging, that I am inclined to pass over the more glaring defects of their persons, since compensated by the more solid, yet latent beauties of the mind; what tho' they want black teeth, or are de­prived of the allurements of feet no bigger than their thumbs, yet still they have souls, my friend, such souls, so free, so pressing, so hospitable, and so engaging—I have received more invitations in the streets of Lon­don [Page 32] from the sex in one night, than I have met with at Pekin in twelve revolutions of the moon.

Every evening as I return home from my usual soli­tary excursions, I am met by several of those well dis­posed daughters of hospitality, at different times and in different streets, richly dressed, and with minds not less noble than their appearance. You know that nature has indulged me with a person by no means agreeable; yet are they too generous to object to my homely ap­pearance; they feel no repugnance at my broad face and flat nose; they perceive me to be a stranger, and that alone is a sufficient recommendation. They even seem to think it their duty to do the honours of the country by every act of complaisance in their power. One takes me under the arm, and in a manner forces me along; another catches me round the neck, and de­sires to partake in this office of hospitality; while a third kinder still, invites me to refresh my spirits with wine. Wine is in England reserved only for the rich, yet here even wine is given away to the stranger!

A few nights ago, one of those generous creatures, dressed all in white, and flaunting like a meteor by my side, forcibly attended me home to my own apartment. She seemed charmed with the elegance of the furniture, and the convenience of my situation. And well indeed she might, for I have hired an apartment for not less than two shillings of their money every week. But her civility did not rest here; for at parting, being desirous to know the hour, and perceiving my watch out of or­der, she kindly took it to be repaired by a relation of her own, which you may imagine will save some ex­pence, and she assures me that it will cost her nothing. [Page 33] I shall have it back in a few days when mended, and am preparing a proper speech expressive of my grati­tude on the occasion: Celestial excellence, I intend to say, happy I am in having found out, after many pain­ful adventures, a land of innocence, and a people of humanity: I may rove into other climes, and converse with nations yet unknown, but where shall I meet a soul of such purity as that which resides in thy breast! Sure thou hast been nurtured by the bill of the Shin Shin, or suck'd the breasts of the provident Gin Hiung. The melody of thy voice could rob the Chong Fou of her whelps, or inveigle the [...] that lives in the midst of the waters. Thy servant shall ever retain a sense of thy favours; and one day boast of thy virtue, sin­cerity and truth among the daughters of China.


To the same.

I Have been deceived! she whom I fancied a daugh­ter of Paradise has proved to be one of the infamous disciples of Han! I have lost a trifle, I have gained the consolation of having discovered a deceiver. I once more, therefore, relax into my former indifference with regard to the English ladies, they once more be­gin to appear disagreeable in my eyes: Thus is my whole time passed in forming conclusions which the next minute's experience may probably destroy; the present moment becomes a comment on the past, and I improve rather in humility than wisdom.

[Page 34] Their laws and religion forbid the English to keep more than one woman, I therefore concluded that pro­stitutes were banished from society; I was deceived; every man here keeps as many wives as he can main­tain; the laws are cemented with blood, praised and disregarded. The very Chinese, whose religion allows him two wives, takes not half the liberties of the Eng­lish in this particular. Their laws may be compared to the books of the Sybils, they are held in great venera­tion, but seldom read, or seldomer understood; even those who pretend to be their guardians dispute about the meaning of many of them, and confess their igno­rance of others. The law therefore which commands them to have but one wife, is strictly observed only by those for whom one is more than sufficient, or by such as have not money to buy two. As for the rest, they violate it publicly, and some glory in its violation. They seem to think like the Persians, that they give evident marks of manhood by encreasing their seraglio. A man­darine therefore here generally keeps four wives, a gentleman three, and a stage-player two. As for the magistrates, the country justices and squires, they are employed first in debauching young virgins, and then punishing the transgression.

From such a picture you will be apt to conclude, that he who employs four ladies for his amusement, has four times as much constitution to spare as he who is contented with one; that a Mandarine is much cleverer than a gentleman, and a gentléman than a player, and yet it is quite the reverse; a Mandarine is frequently supported on spindle shanks, appears emaciated by iuxury, and is obliged to have recourse to variety, merely from the weakness, not the vigour of his con­stitution, [Page 35] the number of his wives being the most equivocal symptom of his virility.

Beside the country squire, there is also another set of men, whose whole employment consists in corrupting beauty: these the silly part of the fair sex call ami­able; the more sensible part of them, however, give them the title of abominable. You will probably de­mand what are the talents of a man thus caressed by the majority of the opposite sex; what talents or what beauty is he possessed of superior to the rest of his fel­lows. To answer you directly, he has neither talents nor beauty, but then he is possessed of impudence and assiduity. With assiduity and impudence, men of all ages, and all figures, may commence admirers. I have even been told of some who made professions of ex­piring for love, when all the world could perceive they were going to die of old age: and what is more sur­prizing still, such batter'd beaus are generally most in­famously successful.

A fellow of this kind employs three hours every morning in dressing his head, by which is understood only his hair.

He is a professed admirer, not of any particular lady, but of the whole sex.

He is to suppose every lady has caught cold every night, which gives him an opportunity of calling to see how she does the next morning.

He is upon all occasions to shew himself in very great pain for the ladies; if a lady drops even a pin, he is to fly in order to present it.

[Page 36] He never speaks to a lady without advancing his mouth to her ear, by which he frequently addresses more senses than one.

Upon proper occasions he looks excessively tender. This is performed by laying his hand upon his heart, shutting his eyes, and showing his teeth.

He is excessively fond of dancing a minuet with the ladies, by which is only meant walking round the floor eight or ten times with his hat on, affecting great gravity, and sometimes looking tenderly on his partner.

He never affronts any man himself, and never re­sents an affront from another.

He has an infinite variety of small talk upon all occasions, and laughs when he has nothing more to say.

Such is the killing creature who prostrates himself to the sex till he has undone them; all whose submissions are the effects of design, and who to please the ladies almost becomes himself a lady.

To the same.

I HAVE hitherto given you no account of my journey from China to Europe, of my travels through countries, where nature sports in primeval [...]udeness, where she pours forth her wonders in soli­tude; [Page 37] countries, from whence the rigorous climate the sweeping inundation, the drifted desart, the howl­ing forest, and mountains of immeasureable height ba­nish the husbandman, and spread extensive desolation; countries where the brown Tartar wanders for a pre­carious subsistence, with an heart that never felt pity, himself more hideous than the wilderness he makes.

You will easily conceive the fatigue of crossing vast tracts of land, either desolate, or still more dangerous by its inhabitants. The retreat of men, who seem driven from society, in order to make war upon all the human race; nominally professing a subjection to Mos­covy or China, but without any resemblance to the countries on which they depend.

After I had crossed the great wail, the first objects that presented were the remains of desolated cities, and all the magnificence of venerable ruin. There were to be seen temples of beautiful structure, statues wrought by the hand of a master, and around a coun­try of luxuriant plenty; but not one single inhabitant to reap the bounties of nature. These were prospects that might humble the Pride of kings, and repress hu­man vanity. I asked my guide the cause of such deso­lation. These countries, says he, were once the do­minions of a Tartar prince; and these ruins the seat of arts, elegance, and ease. This prince waged an unsuccessful war with one of the emperors of China; he was conquered, his cities plundered, and all his sub­jects carried into captivity. Such are the effects of the ambition of Kings! Ten Dervises, say the Indian pro­verb, shall sleep in peace upon a single carpet, while two kings shall quarrel though they have kingdoms to [Page 38] divide them. Sure, my friend, the cruelty and the pride of man have made more desarts than nature ever made! she is kind, but man is ungrateful!

Proceeding in my journey through this pensive scene of desolated beauty, in a few days I arrived among the Daures, a nation still dependant on China. Xaixigar is their principal city, which, compared with those of Europe, scarely deserves the name. The governors and other officers, who are sent yearly from Pekin, abuse their authority, and often take the wives and daughters of the Inhabitants to themselves. The Daures accustomed to base submission, feel no resentment at those injuries, or stifle what they feel. Custom and necessity teach even barbarians the same art of dissimu­lation that ambition and intrigue inspire in the breasts of the polite. Upon beholding such unlicensed stretches of power, alas, thought I, how little does our wise and good emperor know of those intolerable exactions! these provinces are too distant for complaint, and too insignificant to expect redress. The more distant the government, the honester should be the governor to whom it is entrusted; for hope of impunity is a strong inducement to violation.

The religion of the Daures is more absurd than even that of the sectaries of Fohi. How would you be surprized, O sage disciple and follower of Confu­cius! you who believe one eternal intelligent cause of all, should you be present at the barbarous ceremonies of this infatuated people. How would you deplore the blindness and folly of mankind. His boasted rea­son seems only to light him astray, and brutal instinct more regularly points out the path to happiness. Could you think it? they adore a wicked divinity; they fear [Page 39] him and they worship him; they imagine him a ma­licious being, ready to injure and ready to be appeased. The men and women assemble at midnight in a hut, which serves for a temple. A priest stretches himself on the ground, and all the people pour forth the most horrid cries, while drums and timbrels swell the infer­nal concert. After this dissonance, miscalled music, has continued about two hours, the priest rises from the ground, assumes an air of inspiration, grows big with the inspiring daemon, and pretends to a skill in futurity.

In every country, my friend, the bonzes, the drachmans, and the priests deceive the people; all re­formations begin from the laity; the priests point us out the way to heaven with their fingers, but stand still themselves, nor seem to travel towards the country in view.

The customs of this people correspond to their re­ligion; they keep their dead for three days on the same bed where the person died; after which they bury him in a grave moderately deep, but with the head still uncovered. Here for several days they present him different sorts of meats; which, when they per­ceive he does not consume, they fill up the grave, and desist from desiring him to eat for the future. How, how can mankind be guilty of such strange absurdity, to entreat a dead body already putrid to partake of the banquet? Where, I again repeat it, is human reason; not only some men, but whole nations, seem divested of its illumination. Here we observe a whole country adoring a divinity through fear, and attempting to feed [Page 40] the dead. These are their most serious and religious occupations: are these men rational, or are not the apes of Borneo more wise?

Certain I am, O thou instructor of my youth! that without philosophers, without some few virtuous men, who seem to be of a different nature from the rest of mankind, without such as these the worship of a wicked divinity would surely be established over every part of the earth. Fear guides more to their duty than grati­tude: for one man who is virtuous from the love of virtue; from the obligation which he thinks he lies un­der to the giver of all; there are ten thousand who are good only from their apprehensions of punishment. Could these last be persuaded, as the Epicureans were, that heaven had no thunders in store for the villain, they would no longer continue to acknowledge subordination, or thank that being who gave them ex­istence.


To the same.

FROM such a picture of nature in primeval sim­plicity, tell me, my much respected friend, are you in love with fatigue and solitude? Do you sigh for the severe frugality of the wandering Tartar, or regret being born amidst the luxury and dissumulation of the polite? Rather tell me, has not every kind of life vices peculiarly its own? Is it not a truth, that refined countries have more vices, but those not so terrible; barbarous nations few, and they of the most hideous [Page 41] complexion? Perfidy and fraud are the vices of civi­lized nations, credulity and violence those of the inha­bitants of the desert. Does the luxury of the one produce half the evils of the inhumanity of the other? Certainly those philosophers, who declaim against luxury have but little understood its benefits: they seem insensible, that to luxury we owe not only the greatest part of our knowledge, but even of our virtues.

It may sound fine in the mouth of a declaimer when he talks of subduing our appetites, of teaching every sense to be content with a bare sufficiency, and of sup­plying only the wants of nature; but is there no more satisfaction in indulging those appetites, if with innocence and safety, than in restraining them? Am not I better pleased in enjoyment than in the sullen sa­tisfaction of thinking that I can live without enjoyment? The more various our artificial necessities, the wider is our circle of pleasure; for all pleasure consists in ob­viating necessities as they rise; luxury, therefore, as it encreases our wants, encreases our capacity for hap­piness.

Examine the history of any country remarkable for opulence and wisdom, you will find they would never have been wise had they not been first luxurious; you will find poets, philosophers, and even patriots, march­ing in luxury's train. The Reason is obvious; we then only are curious after knowledge when we find it con­nected with sensual happiness. The senses ever point out the way, and reflection comments upon the disco­very. Inform a native of the desert of Kobi, of the exact measure of the parallax of the moon, he finds [Page 42] no satisfaction at all in the information; he wonders how any could take such pains, and lay out such trea­sures in order to solve so useless a difficulty; but con­nect it with his happiness, by shewing that it improves navigation, that by such an investigation he may have a warmer coat, a better gun, or a finer knife, and he is instantly in raptures at so great an improvement. In short, we only desire to know what we desire to pos­sess; and whatever we may talk against it, luxury adds the spur to curiosity, and gives us a desire of becoming more wise.

But not our knowledge only, but our virtues are im­proved by luxury. Observe the brown savage of Thi­bet, to whom the fruits of the spreading pomegranate supply food, and its branches an habitation. Such a character has few vices I grant, but those he has are of the most hideous nature, rapine and cruelty are scarce crimes in his eye, neither pity nor tenderness, which enoble every virtue, have any place in his heart; he hates his enemies, and kills those he subdues. On the other hand, the polite Chinese and civilized Eu­ropean seem even to love their enemies. I have just now seen an instance where the English have succoured those enemies whom their own countrymen have actually refused to relieve.

The greater the luxuries of every country, the more closely, politically speaking, is that country united. Luxury is the child of society alone, the luxurious man stands in need of a thousand different artists to furnish out his happiness: it is more likely, therefore, that he should be a good citizen who is connected by motives of [Page 43] self-interest with so many, than the abstemious man who is united to none.

In whatsoever light therefore we consider luxury, whether as employing a number of hands naturally too feeble for more laborious employment, as finding a va­riety of occupation for others who might be totally idle, or as furnishing out new inlets to happiness, with­out encroaching on mutual property, in whatever light we regard it, we shall have reason to stand up in its de­fence, and the sentiment of Confucius still remains un­shaken; that we should enjoy as many of the luxuries of life as are consistent with our own safety; and the pros­perity of others, and that be who finds out a new plea­sure is one of the most useful members of society.

To the same.

FROM the funeral solemnities of the Daures, who think themselves the politest people in the world, I must make a transition to the funeral solemnities of the English, who think themselves as polite as they. The numberless ceremonies which are used here when a person is sick, appear to me so many evident marks of fear and apprehension. Ask an Englishman, however, whether he is afraid of death, and he boldly answers in the negative; but observe his behaviour in circum­stances of approaching sickness, and you will find his actions give his assertions the lie

[Page 44] The Chinese are very sincere in this respect; they hate to die, and they confess their terrors: a great part of their life is spent in preparing things proper for their funeral; a poor artizan shall spend half his income in providing himself a romb twenty years before he wants it; and denies himself the necessaries of life, that he may be amply provided for when he shall want them no more.

But people of distinction in England really deserve pity, for they die in circumstances of the most extreme distress. It is an established rule, never to let a man know that he is dying: physicians are sent for, the clergy are called, and every thing passes in silent so­lemnity round the sick bed; the patient is in agonies, looks round for pity, yet not a single creature will say that he is dying. If he is possessed of fortune, his re­lations entreat him to make his will, as it may restore the tranquillity of his mind. He is desired to undergo the rites of the church, for decency requires it. His friends take their leave only because they don't care to see him in pain. In short, an hundred stratagems are used to make him do what he might have been induced to perform only by being told; Sir, you are past all hopes, and had as good think decently of dying.

Besides all this, the chamber is darkened, the whole house echoes to the cries of the wife, the lamenta­tions of the children, the grief of the servants, and the sighs of friends. The bed is surrounded with priests and doctors in black, and only flambeaux emit a yellow gloom. Where is the man, how intrepid so­ever, that would not shrink at such a hideous solem­nity? [Page 45] For fear of affrighting their expiring friends, the English practise all that can fill them with terror. Strange effect of human prejudice thus to torture mere­ly from mistaken tenderness!

You see, my friend, what contradictions there are in the tempers of those islanders; when prompted by ambition, revenge, or dissappointment, they meet death with the utmost resolution; the very man who in his bed would have trembled at the aspect of a doctor, shall go with intrepidity to attack a bastion, or deli­berately noose himself up in his garters.

The passion of the Europeans for magnificent inter­ments, is equally strong with that of the Chinese. When a tradesman dies, his frightful face is painted up by an undertaker, and placed in a proper situation to receive company; this is called lying in state. To this disagreeable spectacle all the idlers in town flock, and learn to loath the wretch dead, whom they despised when living. In this manner you see some who would have refused a shilling to save the life of their dearest friend, bestow thousands on adorning their putrid corpse. I have been told of a fellow, who grown rich by the price of blood, left it in his will that he should lie in state, and thus unknowingly gibbeted himself into infamy, when he might have otherwise quietly retired into oblivion.

When the person is buried, the next care is to make his epitaph; they are generally reckoned best which flatter most; such relations therefore as have received most benefits from the defunct, discharge this friendly office; and generally flatter in proportion to their joy. [Page 46] When we read those monumental histories of the dead, it may be justly said, that all men are equal in the dust; for they all appear equally remarkable for being the most sincere Christians, the most benevolent neigh­bours, and the honestest men of their time. To go through an European cemetery, one would be apt to wonder how mankind could have so basely degenerated from such excellent ancestors; every tomb pretends to claim your reverence and regret; some are praised for piety in those inscriptions who never entered the temple until they were dead; some are praised for being ex­cellent poets, who were never mentioned, except for their dulness, when living: others for sublime orators, who were never noted except for their impudence; and others still for military atchievements, who were never in any other skirmishes but with the watch. Some even make epitaphs for themselves, and bespeak the readers good will. It were indeed to be wished, that every man would early learn in this manner to make his own; that he would draw it up in terms as flattering as possible; and that he would make it the employment of his whole life to deserve it!

I have not yet been in a place called Westminster Abby, but soon intend to visit it. There I am told I shall see justice done to deceased merit; none, I am told, are permitted to be buried there, but such as have adorned as well as improved mankind. There no intruders by the influence of friends or fortune, presume to mix their unhallowed ashes with philoso­phers, heroes, and poets. Nothing but true merit has a place in that awful sanctuary: the guardianship of the tombs is continued to several reverend priests, who are never guilty for a superior reward of taking [Page 47] down the names of good men, to make room for others of equivocal character, nor ever prophane the sacred walls with pageants, that posterity cannot know or shall blush to own.

I always was of opinion, that sepulchral honours of this kind should be considered as a national concern, and not trusted to the care of the priests of any coun­try, how respectable soever; but from the conduct of the reverend personages, whose disinterested patriotism I shall shortly be able to discover, I am taught to re­tract my former sentiments. It is true, the Spartans and the Persians made a fine political use of sepulchral vanity; they permitted none to be thus interred, who had not fallen in the vindication of their country; a monument thus became a real mark of distinction, it nerved the heroe's arm with tenfold vigour; and he fought without fear, who only fought for a grave.


From the same.

I AM just returned from Westminster-abbey, the place of sepulture for the philosophers, heroes, and kings of England. What a gloom do monumental in­scriptions and all the venerable remains of deceased merit inspire! Imagine a temple marked with the hand of antiquity, solemn as religious awe, adorned with all the magnificence of barbarous profusion, dim windows, fretted pillars, long colonades, and dark ceilings, Think then, what were my sensations at being intro­duced [Page 48] to such a scene. I stood in the midst of the temple, and threw my eyes round on the walls filled with the statues, the inscriptions, and the monuments of the dead.

Alas, I said to myself, how does pride attend the puny child of dust even to the grave! Even humble as I am, I possess more consequence in the present scene than the greatest heroe of them all; they have toiled for an hour to gain a transient immortality, and are at length retired to the grave, where they have no attendant but the worm, none to flatter but the epitaph.

As I was indulging such reflections, a gentleman dressed in black, perceiving me to be a stranger, came up, entered into conversation, and politely offered to be my instructor and guide through the temple. If any monument, said he, should particularly excite your curiosity, I shall endeavour to satisfy your demands. I accepted with thanks the gentleman's offer, adding, that "I was come to observe the policy, the wisdom, and the justice of the English, in conferring rewards upon deceased merit. If adulation like this, con­tinued I, be properly conducted, as it can no ways injure those who are flattered, so it may be a glorious incentive to those who are now capable of enjoying it. It is the duty of every good government to turn this monumental pride to its own advantage to become strong in the aggregate from the weakness of the individual. If none but the truly great have a place in this awful repository, a temple like this will give the finest lessons of morality, and be a strong incentive to true ambition. I am told, that [Page 49] none have a place here but characters of the most distinguished merit." The man in black seemed im­patient at my observations, so I discontinued my remarks, and we walked on together to take a view of every particular monument in order as it lay.

As the eye is naturally caught by the finest objects, I could not avoid being particularly curious about one monument which appeared more beautiful than the rest; that, said I to my guide, I take to be the tomb of some very great man. By the peculiar excellence of the workmanship, and the magnificence of the design this must be a trophy raised to the memory of some king who has saved his country from ruin, or law-giver, who has reduced his fellow-citizens from anarchy into just subjection—It is not requisite, replied my com­panion smiling, to have such qualifications in order to have a very fine monument here. More humble abi­lities will suffice. What, I suppose then, the gaining two or three battles, or the taking half a score towns, is thought a sufficient qualification? Gaining battles, or taking towns, replied the man in black, may be of service; but a gentleman may have a very fine monu­ment here without ever seeing a battle or a siege. This then is the monument of some poet, I presume, of one whose wit has gained him immortality? No, sir, replied my guide, the gentleman who lies here never made verses; and as for wit, he despised it in others, because he had none himself. Pray tell me then in a word, said I peevishly, what is the great man who lies here particularly remarkable for? Remarkable, sir! said my companion; why, sir, the gentleman that lies here is remarkable, very remarkable—for a tomb in Westminster-abbey. But, head of my Ancestors! [Page 50] how has be got here? I fancy he could never bribe the guardians of the temple to give him a place: Should he not be ashamed to be seen among company, where even moderate merit would look like infamy? I suppose, re­plied the man in black, the gentleman was rich, and his friends, as is usual in such a case, told him he was great. He readily believed them; the guardians of the temple, as they got by the self-delusion, were ready to believe him too; so he paid his money for a fine monument; and the workman, a [...] you see, has made him one of the most beautiful. Think not, however, that this gentleman is singular in his desire of being buried among the great, there are several others in the temple, who, hated and shunned by the great while alive, have come here, fully resolved to keep them company now they are dead.

As we walked along to a particular part of the temple, there, says the gentleman, pointing with his finger, that is the poet's corner; there you see the monuments of Shakespear, and Milton, and Prior, and Drayton. Drayton, I replied, I never heard of him before, but I have been told of one Pope, is he there? It is time enough, replied my guide, these hundred years, he is not long dead, people have not done hating him yet. Strange, cried I, can any be found to hate a man, whose life was wholly spent in entertaining and instruct­ing his fellow creatures! Yes, says my guide, they hate him for that very reason. There are a set of men called answerers of books, who take upon them to watch the republic of letters, and distribute reputa­tion by the sheet; they somewhat resemble the eunuchs in a seraglio, who are incapable of giving pleasure themselves, and hinder those that would. These an­swerers [Page 51] have no other employment but to cry out Dunce, and Scribbler, to praise the dead, and revile the living, to grant a man of confessed abilities some small share of merit, to applaud twenty blockheads in order to gain the reputation of candour, and to revile the moral character of the man whose writings they cannot injure. Such wretches are kept in pay by some mercenary bookseller, or more frequently the book­seller himself takes this dirty work off their hands, as all that is requi [...] is to be very abusive and very dull; every Poet of any genius is sure to find such enemies, he feels, though he seems to despise their malice, they make him miserable here, and in the pursuit of empty fame, at last he gains solid anxiety.

Has this been the case with every poet I see here? cried I—Yes, with every mother's son of them, re­plied he, except he happened to be born a mandarine. If he has much money, he may buy reputation from your book answerers, as well as a monument from the guardians of the temple.

But are there not some men of distinguished taste, as in China, who are willing to patronize men of merit and soften the rancour of malevolent dulness?

I own there are many, replied the man in black, but, alas! Sir, the book answerers croud about them, and call themselves the writers of books; and the patron is too indolent, to distinguish; thus poets are kept at a distance, while their enemies eat up all their rewards at the mandarine's table.

Leaving this part of the temple, we made up to an iron gate, through which my companion told me we [Page 52] were to pass in order to see the monuments of the kings. Accordingly I marched up without further ceremony, and was going to enter, when a person who held the gate in his hand, told me I must pay first. I was surprised at such a demand; and asked the man whether the people of England kept a shew? Whe­ther the paltry sum he demanded was not a national re­proach? Whether it was not more to the honour of the country to let their magnificence or their antiqui­ties be openly seen, than thus meanly to tax a curiosity which tended to their own honour? As for your questions, replied the gate-keeper, to be sure they may be very right, because I don't understand them, but as for that there three-pence, I farm it from one, who rents it from another, who hires it from a third, who leases it from the guardians of the temple, and we all must live. I expected upon paying here to see something ex­traordinary, since what I had seen for nothing filled me with so much surprize; but in this I was disappointed; there was little more within than black coffins, rusty armour, tatter'd standards, and some few slovenly figures in wax. I was sorry I had paid, but I comforted myself by considering it would be my last payment. A person attended us, who, without once blushing, told an hundred lies, he talked of a lady who died by pricking her finger, of a king with a golden head, and twenty such pieces of absurdity; Look ye there, gentlemen, says he, pointing to an old oak chair, there's a curiosity for ye; in that chair the kings of England were crowned, you see also a stone under­neath, and that stone is Jacob's pillow. I could see no curiosity either in the oak chair or the stone; could I, indeed, behold one of the old kings of England seated [Page 53] in this, or Jacob's head laid upon the other, there might be something curious in the sight; but in the present case, there was no more reason for my surprize than if I should pick a stone from their streets, and call it a curiosity, merely because one of their kings happened to tread upon it as he passed in a procession.

From hence our conductor led us through several dark walks and winding ways, uttering lies, talking to himself, and flourishing a wand which he held in his hand. He reminded me of the black magicians of Kobi. After we had been almost fatigued with a variety of objects, he, at last, desired me to consider attentively a certain suit of armour, which seemed to shew nothing remarkable. This armour, said he, belonged to general Monk. Very surprising, that a general should wear armour. And pray, added he, observe this cap, this is general Monk's cap. Very strange, indeed, very strange, that a general should have a cap also! Pray friend, what might this cap have cost originally? That, Sir, says he, I don't know, but this cap is all the wages I have for my trouble. A very small recompence, truly, said I. Not so very small, replied he, for every gentleman puts some money into it, and I spend the money. What, more money! still more money! Every gentleman gives some­thing, sir. I'll give thee nothing, returned I; the guardians of the temple should pay you your wages, friend, and not permit you to squeeze thus from every spectator. When we pay our money at the door to see a shew, we never give more as we are going out. Sure the guardians of the temple can never [Page 54] think they get enough. Shew me the gate; if I stay longer, I may probably meet with more of those eccle­siastical beggars.

Thus leaving the temple precipitately, I returned to my lodgings, in order to ruminate over what was great, and to despise what was mean in the occurrences of the day.

From the same.

I WAS some days ago agreeably surprised by a mes­sage from a lady of distinction, who sent me word, that she most passionately desired the pleasure of my acquaintance; and with the utmost impatience, ex­pected an interview. I will not deny, my dear Fum Hoam, but that my vanity was raised at such an invi­tation. I flattered myself that she had seen me in some public place, and had conceived an affection for my person, which thus induced her to deviate from the usual decorums of the sex. My imagination painted her in all the bloom of youth and beauty. I fancied her attended by the loves and graces, and I set out with the most pleasing expectations of seeing the conquest I had made.

When I was introduced into her apartment, my expectations were quickly at an end; I perceived a little shrivelled figure indolently reclined on a sofa, who nodded by way of approbation at my approach. This, as I was afterwards informed, [Page 55] was the lady herself, a woman equally distinguished for rank, politeness, taste, and understanding. As I was dressed after the fashion of Europe, she had taken me for an Englishman, and consequently saluted me in her ordinary manner; but when the footman informed her grace that I was the gentleman from China, she instantly lifted herself from the couch, while her eyes sparkled with unusual vivacity. "Bless me! can this be the gentleman that was born so far from home? What an unusual share of somethingness in his whole appearance. Lord how I am charmed with the outlandish cut of his face; how bewitching the exotic breadth of his forehead. I would give the world to see him in his own country dress. Pray turn about, Sir, and let me see you behind. There! there's a travell'd air for you. You that attend there, bring up a plate of beef cut into small pieces; I have a violent passion to see him eat. Pray, Sir, have you got your chop sticks about you? It will be so pretty to see the meat carried to the mouth with a jerk. Pray speak a little Chinese: I have learned some of the language myself. Lord, have you nothing pretty from China about you; some­thing that one does not know what to do with? I have got twenty things from China that are of no use in the world. Look at those jars, they are of the right pea green: these are the furniture." Dear madam, said I, those, though they may appear fine in your eyes, are but paltry to a Chinese; but, as they are useful utensils, it is proper they should have a place in every apartment. Useful! Sir, replied the lady; sure you mistake, they are of no use in the world. What! are they not filled with an infusion of tea as in China? [Page 56] replied I. Quite empty and useless upon my honour, Sir. Then they are the most cumbrous and clumsy furniture in the world, as nothing is truly elegant but what unites use with beauty. I protest, says the lady, I shall begin to suspect thee of being an actual barbarian. I suppose also you hold my two beautiful pagods in contempt. What! cried I, has Fohi spread his gross superstitions here also? Pagods of all kinds are my aversion. A Chinese, a traveller, and want taste! it surprises me. Pray, sir, examine the beauties of that Chinese temple which you see at the end of the garden. Is there any thing in China more beautiful? Where I stand I see nothing, madam, at the end of the garden that may not as well be called an Egyptian pyramid as a Chinese temple; for that little building in view is as like the one as [...]other. What! Sir, is not that a Chinese temple? you must surely be mistaken. Mr. Freeze, who designed it calls it one, and nobody disputes his pretensions to taste. I now found it vain to contradict the lady in any thing she thought fit to advance: so was resolved rather to act the disciple than the in­structor. She took me through several rooms all fur­nished, as she told me, in the Chinese manner; sprawl­ing dragons, squatting pagods, and clumsy mandarines, were stuck upon every shelf: In turning round one must have used caution not to demolish a part of the precarious furniture.

In a house like this, thought I, one must live conti­nually upon the watch; the inhabitant must resemble a knight in an enchanted castle, who expects to meet an adventure at every turning. But, Madam, said I, do no accidents ever happen to all this finery? Man, Sir, re­piled the lady, is born to misfortunes, and 'tis but fit I [Page 57] should have a share. Three weeks ago, a careless servant snapp'd off the head of a favourite mandarine: I had scarce done grieving for that, when a monkey broke a beautiful jar; this I took the more to heart, as the injury was done me by a friend: however, I sur­vived the calamity; when yesterday crash went half a dozen dragons upon the marble hearth stone; and yet I live; I survive it all: you can't conceive what com­fort I find under afflictions from philosophy. There is Seneca, and Bolingbroke, and some others, who guide me through life, and teach me to support its calamities.—I could not but smile at a woman who makes her own misfortunes, and then deplores the mi­series of her situation. Wherefore tired of acting with dissimulation, and willing to indulge my meditations in solitude, I took leave just as the servant was bringing in a plate of beef, pursuant to the directions of his mistress.


From the same.

THE better sort here pretend to the utmost com­passion for animals of every kind; to hear them speak, a stranger would be apt to imagine they could hardly hurt the gnat that stung 'em; they seem so tender and so full of pity, that one would take them for the harmless friends of the whole creation; the protectors of the meanest insect or reptile that was pri­vileged with existence. And yet would you believe it, I have seen the very men who have thus boasted of [Page 58] their tenderness; at the same time devouring the flesh of six different animals tossed up in a fricassee. Strange contrariety of conduct; they pity and they eat the objects of their compassion. The lion roars with terror over its captive; the tyger sends forth its hideous shriek to intimidate its prey; no creature shews any fondness for its short-lived prisoner, except a man and a cat.

Man was born to live with innocence and simplicity, but he has deviated from nature; he was born to share the bounties of heaven, but he has monopolized them; he was born to govern the brute creation, but he is become their tyrant. If an epicure now should hap­pen to surfeit on his last night's feast, twenty animals the next day are to undergo the most exquisite tortures in order to provoke his appetite to another guilty meal. Hail, O ye simple, honest bramins of the east, ye in­offensive friends of all that were born to happiness as well as you: you never sought a short-lived pleasure from the miseries of other creatures. You never studied the tormenting arts of ingenious refinement; you never surfeited upon a guilty meal. How much more purified and refined are all your sensations than ours: you distinguish every element with the utmost precision; a stream untasted before is new luxury, a change of air is a new banquet, too refined for western imaginations to conceive.

Though the Europeans do not hold the transmigra­tion of souls, yet one of their doctors has, with great force of argument, and great plausibility of reasoning, endeavoured to prove that the bodies of animals are the habitations of daemons and wicked spirits, which are [Page 59] obliged to reside in these prisons till the resurrection pronounces their everlasting punishment; but are pre­viously condemned to suffer all the pains and hardships inflicted upon them by man, or by each other here. If this be the case, it may frequently happen, that while we whip pigs to death, or boil live lobsters, we are putting some old acquaintance, some near relation, to excruciating tortures, and are serving him up to the very same table where he was once the most welcome companion.

"Kabul, says the Zendavesta, was born on the rushy banks of the river Mawra; his possessions were great, and his luxuries kept pace with the affluence of his fortune; he hated the harmless bramins, and de­spised their holy religion; every day his table was deck'd out with the flesh of an hundred different animals, and his cooks had an hundred different ways of dressing it, to solicit even satiety.

"Notwithstanding all his eating, he did not arrive at old age, he died of a surfeit, caused by intempe­rance: upon this, his soul was carried off, in order to take its trial before a select assembly of the souls of those animals which his gluttony had caused to be slain, and who were now appointed his judges.

"He trembled before a tribunal, to every member of which, he had formerly acted as an unmerciful tyrant; he sought for pity, but found none disposed to grant it. Does he not remember, cries the angry boar, to what agonies I was put, not to satisfy his hunger, but his vanity? I was first hunted to death, and my flesh scarce thought worthy of coming once to his table. Were my advice followed, he should do [Page 60] penance in the shape of an hog, which in life he most resembled.

"I am rather, cries a sheep upon the bench, for having him suffer under the appearance of a lamb, we may then send him through four or five transmigra­tions in the space of a month. Were my voice of any weight in the assembly, cries a calf, he should rather assume such a form as mine: I was bled every day, in order to make my flesh white, and at last killed with­out mercy. Would it not be wiser, cries a hen, to cram him in the shape of a fowl, and then smother him in his own blood as I was served? The majority of the assembly were pleased with this punishment, and were going to condemn him without further delay, when the ox rose up to give his opinion: I am in­formed, says this counsellor, that the prisoner at the bar has left a wife with child behind him. By my knowledge in divination I foresee that this child will be a son, decrepid, feeble, sickly, a plague to himself and all about him. What say you then, my companions, if we condemn the father to animate the body of his own son; and by this means make him feel in himself those miseries his intemperance must otherwise have entailed upon his posterity. The whole court ap­plauded the ingenuity of his torture, they thanked him for his advice. Kabul was driven once more to revisit the earth; and his soul in the body of his own son, passed a period of thirty years, loaded with misery, anxiety, and disease."

From the same.

I Know not whether I am more obliged to the Chinese missionaries for the instruction I have received from them, or prejudiced by the falshoods they have made me believe. By them I was told that the Pope was universally allowed to be a man, and placed at the head of the church; in England, however, they plainly prove him to be an whore in man's cloaths, and often burn him in effigy as an impostor. A thousand books have been written on either side of the question; priests are eternally disputing against each other; and those mouths that want argument are filled with abuse. Which party must I believe, or shall I give credit to neither? When I survey the absurdities and falsehoods with which the books of the Europeans are filled, I thank heaven for having been born in China, and that I have sagacity enough to detect imposture.

The Europeans reproach us with false history and fabulous chronology; how should they blush to see their own books, many of which are written by the doctors of their religion filled with the most monstrous fables, and attested with the utmost solemnity. The bounds of a letter, do not permit me to mention all the absurdities of this kind, which in my reading I have met with. I shall confine myself to the ac­counts which some of their lettered men give of the persons of ome of the inhabitants on our globe. [Page 62] And not satisfied with the most solemn asseverations, they sometimes pretend to have been eye witnesses of what they describe.

A christian doctor in one of his principal perfor­mances* says, that it was not impossible for a whole nation to have but one eye in the middle of the fore­head. He is not satisfied with leaving it in doubt; but in another work assures us, that the fact was certain, and that he himself was an eye-witness of it. When, says he, I took a journey into Ethiopia in company with several other servants of Christ, in order to preach the gospel there; I bebeld in the southern pro­vinces of that country a nation which had only one eye in the midst of their foreheads.

You will, no doubt, be surprized, reverend Fum, with this author's effrontery; but alas he is not alone in this story; he has only borrowed it from several others who wrote before him. Solinus creates another nation of Cyclops, the Arimaspians who inhabit those countries that border on the Caspian sea. This author goes on to tell us of a people of India, who have but one [...]eg and one eye, and yet are extremely active, run with great swiftness, and live by hunting. These people we scarce know how to pity or admire; but the men whom Pliny calls Cynamolci, who have got the heads of dogs really deserve your compassion. Instead of language they express their sentiments by barking. Solinus confirms what Pliny mentions; and Simon Mayole, a French bishop, talks of them as of parti­cular and familiar acquaintances. After passing the [Page 63] desarts of Egypt, says he, we meet with the Kunoke­phaloi, who inhabit those regions that border on Ethiopia; they live by hunting; they cannot speak, but whistle; their chins resemble a serpent's head; their hands are armed with long sharp claws; their breast resembles that of a greyhound; and they excel in swiftness and agility. Would you think it, my friend, that these odd kind of people are, notwithstanding their figure, excessively delicate; not even an alderman's wife, or Chinese mandarine, can excel them in this particular. These people, continues our faithful bishop, never re­fuse wine; love roast and boiled meat; they are parti­cularly curious in having their meat well dressed, and spurn at it if in the least tainted. When the Ptolemies reigned in Egypt, (says he a little farther on) those men with dog's heads taught Grammar and Music. For men who had no voices to teach music, and who could not speak to teach grammar, is, I confess a little ex­traordinary. Did ever the disciples of Fohi broach any thing more ridiculous?

Hitherto we have seen men with heads strangely deformed, and with dog's heads; but what would you say if you heard of men without any heads at all? Pomponius Mela, Solinus, and Aulus Gellius, describe them to our hand: ‘"The Blemiae have a nose, eyes, and mouth on their breasts; or, as others will have it, placed on their shoulders."’

One would think that these authors had an anti­pathy to the human form, and were resolved to make a new figure of their own: but let us do them justice; though they sometimes deprive us of a leg, an arm, an head, or some such trifling part of the body, they [Page 64] often as liberally bestow upon us something that we wanted before. Simon Mayole seems our particular friend in this respect: if he has denied heads to one part of mankind, he has given tails to another. He describes many of the English of his time, which is not more than an hundred years ago, as having tails. His own words are as follow. In England there are some families which have tails, as a punishment for deriding an Augustin Friar sent by St. Gregory, and who preached in Dorsetshire. They sewed the tails of different animals to his cloaths; but soon they found those tails entailed on them and their posterity for ever. It is certain, the author had some ground for this de­scription; many of the English wear tails to their wigs to this very day, as a mark, I suppose, of the anti­quity of their families, and perhaps as a symbol of those tails with which they were formerly distinguished by nature.

You see, my friend, there is nothing so ridiculous that has not at some time been said by some philosopher. The writers of books in Europe seem to think them­selves authorised to say what they please; and an in­genious philosopher among them* has openly asserted, that he would undertake to persuade the whole re­public of readers to believe that the sun was neither the cause of light nor heat; if he could only get six phi­losophers on his side.


From the same.

WERE an Asiatic politician to read the treaties of peace and friendship that have been annually making for more than an hundred years among the in­habitants of Europe, he would probably be surpriz'd how it should ever happen that christian princes could quarrel among each other. Their compacts for peace are drawn up with the utmost precision, and ratified with the greatest solemnity; to these each party pro­mises a sincere and inviolable obedience, and all wears the appearance of open friendship and unreserved re­conciliation.

Yet, notwithstanding those treaties, the people of Europe are almost continually at war. There is no­thing more easy than to break a treaty ratified in all the usual forms, and yet neither party be the aggressor. One side, for instance, breaks a trifling article by mis­take; the opposite party upon this makes a small but premeditated reprisal; this brings on a return of greater from the other; both sides complain of injuries and in­fractions; war is declar'd; they beat, are beaten; some two or three hundred thousand men are killed, they grow tired, leave off just where they began; and so sit cooly down to make new treaties.

The English and French seem to place themselves foremost among the champion states of Europe. Though parted by a narrow sea, yet are they entirely of opposite characters; and from their vicinity are taught to fear and admire each other. They are at [Page 66] present engaged in a very destructive war, have al­ready spilled much blood, are excessively irritated; and all upon account of one side's desiring to wear greater quantities of furs than the other.

The pretext of the war is about some lands a thou­sand leagues off; a country cold, desolate, and hideous; a country belonging to a people who were in possession for time immemorial. The savages of Canada claim a property in the country in dispute; they have all the pretensions which long possession can confer. Here they had reigned for ages without rivals in dominion, and knew no enemies but the prowling bear or insidious tyger; their native forests produced all the necessaries of life, and they found ample luxury in the enjoyment. In this manner they might have continued to live to eternity, had not the English been informed that those countries produced furs in great abundance. From that moment the country became an object of desire; it was found that furs were things very much wanted in England; the ladies edged some of their cloaths with furs, and muffs were worn both by gentlemen and la­dies In short, furs were found indispensably necessary for the happiness of the state: and the king was conse­quently petitioned to grant not only the country of Ca­nada, but all the savages belonging to it to the subjects of England, in order to have the people supplied with proper quantities of this necessary commodity.

So very reasonable a request was immediately com­plied with, and large colonies were sent abroad to pro­cure furs, and take possession. The French who were equally in want of furs (for they were as fond of muffs and tippets as the English) made the very same request [Page 70] to their monarch, and met with the same gracious re­ception from their king, who generously granted what was not his to give Wherever the French landed, they called the country their own; and the English took possession wherever they came upon the same equi­table pretensions. The harmless savages made no op­position; and could the intruders have agreed together, they might peaceably have shared this desolate country between them. But they quarrelled about the boun­daries of their settlements, about grounds and rivers to which neither side could shew any other right than that of power, and which neither could occupy but by usurpation. Such is the contest, that no honest man can heartily wish success to either party.

The war has continued for some time with various success. At first the French seemed victorious; but the English have of late dispossessed them of the whole country in dispute. Think not, however, that suc­cess on one side is the harbinger of peace: on the con­trary, both parties must be heartily tired to effect even a temporary reconciliation. It should seem the business of the victorious party to offer terms of peace; but there are many in England, who, encouraged by suc­cess, are still for protracting the war.

The best English politicians, however, are sensible, that to keep their present conquests, would be rather a burthen than an advantage to them rather a diminution of their strength than an encrease of power It is in the politic as in the human constitution; if the limbs grow too large for the body, their size, instead of im­proving, will diminish the vigour of the whole. The colonies should always bear an exact proportion to the [Page 68] mother country; when they grow populous, they grow powerful, and by becoming powerful, they be­come independent also; thus subordination is destroyed, and a country swallowed up in the extent of its own do­minions. The Turkish empire would be more for­midable, were it less extensive. Were it not for those countries, which it can neither command, nor give en­tirely away, which it is obliged to protect, but from which it has no power to exact obedience.

Yet, obvious as these truths are, there are many En­glishmen who are for transplanting new colonies into this late acquisition, for peopling the desarts of Ame­rica with the refuse of their countrymen, and (as they express it) with the waste of an exuberant nation. But who are those unhappy creatures who are to be thus drained away? Not the sickly, for they are unwelcome guests abroad as well as at home; nor the idle, for they would starve as well behind the Appalachian mountains as in the streets of London. This refuse is composed of the laborious and enterprising, of such men as can be serviceable to their country at home, of men who ought to be regarded as the sinews of the peo­ple, and cherished with every degree of political in­dulgence. And what are the commodities which this colony, when established, are to produce in return? Why raw silk, hemp, and tobacco. England, there­fore, must make an exchange of her best and bravest subjects for raw silk, hemp, and tobacco; her hardy veterans and honest tradesmen, must be truck'd for a box of snuff or a silk petticoat. Strange absurdity! Sure the politics of the Daures are not more strange, who sell their religion, their wives, and their liberty for a glass bead, or a paltry penknife.


From the same.

THE English love their wives with much pas­sion, the Hollanders with much prudence. The English when they give their hands, frequently give their hearts; the Dutch give the hand, but keep the heart wisely in their own possession. The English love with violence, and expect violent love in return; the Dutch are satisfied with the slightest acknowledg­ments, for they give little away. The English expend many of the matrimonial comforts in the first year; the Dutch frugally husband out their pleasures, and are al­ways constant because they are always indifferent.

There seems very little difference between a Dutch bridegroom and a Dutch husband. Both are equally possessed of the same cool unexpecting serenity; they can see neither Elysium nor Paradise behind the cur­tain; and Yiffrow is not more a goddess on the wed­ding night, than after twenty years matrimonial ac­quaintance. On the other hand, many of the English marry, in order to have one happy month in their lives; they seem incapable of looking beyond that period; they unite in hopes of finding rapture, and disappointed in that, disdain ever to accept of happiness. From hence we see open hatred ensue; or what is worse, con­cealed disgust under the appearance of fulsome endear­ment. Much formality, great civility, and studied compliments are exhibited in public; cross looks, sulky silence, or open recrimination, fill up their hours of private entertainment.

[Page 70] Hence I am taught, whenever I see a new married couple more than ordinarily sond before faces, to consi­der them as attempting to impose upon the company or themselves, either hating each other heartily, or con­suming that stock of love in the beginning of their course, which should serve them through their whole journey. Neither side should expect those instances of kindness which are inconsistent with true freedom or happiness to bestow. Love, when founded in the heart, will shew itself in a thousand unpremeditated sallies of fondness; but every cool deliberate exhibition of the passion, only argues little understanding, or great insin­cerity.

Choang was the fondest husband, and Hansi the most endearing wife in all the kingdom of Korea: they were a pattern of conjugal bliss; the inhabitants of the country around saw, and envied their felicity; where­ever Choang came, Hansi was sure to follow; and in all the pleasures of Hansi, Choang was admitted a part­ner. They walked hand in hand wherever they ap­peared, shewing every mark of mutual satisfaction, em­bracing, kissing, their mouths were for ever joined, and to speak in the language of anatomy, it was with them one perpetual anastomosis.

Their love was so great, that it was thought nothing could interrupt their mutual peace; when an accident happened, which, in some measure, diminished the husband's assurance of his wife's fidelity; for love so refined as his, was subject to a thousand little disquie­tudes.

[Page 71] Happening to go one day alone among the tombs that lay at some distance from his house, he there perceived a lady dressed in the deepest mourning, (being cloathed all over in white) fanning the wet clay that was raised over one of the graves with a large fan, which she held in her hand. Choang, who had early been taught wis­dom in the school of Lao, was unable to assign a cause for her present employment; and coming up, civilly demanded the reason. Alas, replied the lady, her eyes bathed in tears; how is it possible to survive the loss of my husband, who lies buried in this grave; he was the best of men, the tenderest of husbands; with his dying breath he bid me never marry again till the earth over his grave should be dry; and here you see me stea­dily resolving to obey his will, and endeavouring to dry it with my fan. I have employed two whole days in fulfilling his commands, and am determined not to marry till they are punctually obeyed, even though his grave should take up four days in drying.

Choang, who was struck with the widow's beauty, could not, however, avoid smiling at her haste to be married; but, concealing the cause of his mirth, civilly invited her home; adding, that he had a wife who might be capable of giving her some consolation. As soon as he and his guest were returned, he imparted to Hansi in private what he had seen, and could not avoid expressing his uneasiness, that such might be his own case if his dearest wife should one day happen to survive him.

It is impossible to describe Hansi's resentment at so unkind a suspicion. As her passion for him was not only great, but extremely delicate, she employed tears, [Page 72] anger, frowns, and exclamations, to chide his suspi­cions; the widow herself was inveighed against; and Hansi declared she was resolved never to sleep under the same roof with a wretch, who, like her, could be guilty of such barefac'd inconstancy. The night was cold and stormy; however, the stranger was obliged to seek another lodging, for Choang was not disposed to resist, and Hansi would have her way.

The widow had scarce been gone an hour, when an old disciple of Choang's, whom he had not seen for many years, came to pay him a visit. He was received with the utmost ceremony, placed in the most honour­able seat at supper, and the wine began to circulate with great freedom. Choang and Hansi exhibited open marks of mutual tenderness, and unfeigned re­conciliation: nothing could equal their apparent hap­piness; so fond an husband, so obedient a wife, few could behold without regretting their own infelicity. When, lo! their happiness was at once disturbed by a most fatal accident. Choang fell lifeless in an apoplec­tic fit upon the floor. Every method was used, but in vain, for his recovery. Hansi was at first inconsolable for his death: after some hours, however, she found spirits to read his last will. The ensuing day she began to moralize and talk wisdom; the next day she was able to comfort the young disciple; and, on the third, to shorten a long story, they both agreed to be married.

There was now no longer mourning in the apart­ments; the body of Choang was now thrust into an old coffin, and placed in one of the meanest rooms, there to lie unattended until the time prescribed by law for his interment. In the mean time Hansi, and the [Page 73] young disciple, were arrayed in the most magnificent habits; the bride wore in her nose a jewel of immense price, and her lover was dressed in all the finery of his former master, together with a pair of artificial whisk­ers that reached down to his toes. The hour of their nuptials was arrived; the whole family sympathized with their approaching happiness; the apartments were brightened up with lights that diffused the most exqui­site perfume, and a lustre more bright than noon day. The lady expected her youthful lover in an inner apart­ment with impatience; when his servant approaching with terror in his countenance, informed her, that his master was fallen into a fit, which would certainly be mortal, unless the heart of a man lately dead, could be obtained, and applied to his breast. She scarce waited to hear the end of his story, when, tucking up her cloaths, she ran with a mattock in her hand to the cof­fin, where Choang lay, resolving to apply the heart of her dead husband as a cure for the living. She there­fore struck the lid with the utmost violence. In a few blows the coffin flew open, when the body, which, to all appearance had been dead, began to move. Terri­fied at the sight, Hansi dropped the mattock, and Cho­ang walked out, astonished at his own situation, his wife's unusual magnificence, and her more amazing sur­prize. He went among the apartments, unable to con­ceive the cause of so much splendor. He was not long in suspense before his domestics informed him of every transaction since he first became insensible. He could scarce believe what they told him, and went in pursuit of Hansi herself, in order to receive more certain infor­mation, or to reproach her infidelity. But she pre­vented his reproaches: he found her weltering in blood; [Page 74] for she had stabbed herself to the heart, being unable to survive her shame and disappointment.

Choang, being a philosopher, was too wise to make any loud lamentations; he thought it best to bear his loss with serenity; so, mending up the old coffin where he had lain himself, he placed his faithless spouse in his room; and, unwilling that so many nuptial pre­parations should be expended in vain, he the same night married the widow with the large fan.

As they both were apprised of the foibles of each other before hand, they knew how to excuse them after marriage. They lived together for many years in great tranquillity, and not expecting rapture, made a shift to find contentment.


To the same.

THE gentleman dressed in black, who was my companion through Westminster Abbey, came yesterday to pay me a visit; and after drinking tea, we both resolved to take a walk together, in order to enjoy the freshness of the country, which now begins to re­sume its verdure. Before we got out of the suburbs, however, we were stopped in one of the streets by a crowd of people, gathered in a circle round a man and his wife, who seemed too loud and too angry to be un­derstood. The people were highly pleased with the dispute, which upon enquiry we found to be between Dr. Cacafogo an apothecary, and his wife. The doc­tor, [Page 75] it seems, coming unexpectedly into his wife's apart­ment, found a gentleman there in circumstances not in the least equivocal.

The doctor, who was a person of nice honour, re­solving to revenge the flagrant insult, immediately flew to the chimney-piece, and taking down a rusty blunder­buss, drew the trigger upon the defiler of his bed; the delinquent would certainly have been shot through the head, but that the piece had not been charged for many years. The gallant made a shift to escape through the window, but the lady still remained; and as she well knew her husband's temper, undertook to manage the quarrel without a second. He was furious, and she loud; their noise had gathered all the mob who cha­ritably assembled on the occasion, not to prevent, but to enjoy the quarrel.

Alas, said I to my companion, what will become of this unhappy creature thus caught in adultery! Believe me, I pity her from my heart; her husband, I suppose, will shew her no mercy. Will they burn her as in In­dia, or behead her as in Persia; will they load her with stripes as in Turkey, or keep her in perpetual impri­sonment, as with us in China! Prythee, what is the wife's punishment in England for such offences? When a lady is thus caught tripping, replied my companion, they never punish her, but the husband. You surely jest, interrupted I; I am a foreigner, and you would abuse my ignorance! I am really serious, returned he; Dr. Cacafogo has caught his wife in the act; but as he had no witnesses, his small testimony goes for nothing; the consequence therefore of his discovery will be, that she may be packed off to live among her relations, and [Page 76] the doctor must be obliged to allow her a separate main­tenance. Amazing, cried I! is it not enough that she is permitted to live separate from the object she detests, but must he give her money to keep her in spirits too? That he must, says my guide; and be called a cuckold by all his neighbours into the bargain. The men will laugh at him, the ladies will pity him; and all that his warmest friends can say in his favour, will be, that the poor good soul has never had any harm in him. I want patience, interrupted I; what! are there no private chastisements for the wife; no schools of penitence to shew her her folly; no rods for such delinquents? Psha, man, replied he smiling; if every delinquent among us were to be treated in your manner, one half of the kingdom would flog the other.

I must confess, my dear Fum, that if I were an En­glish husband, of all things I would take care not to be jealous, nor busily pry into these secrets my wife was pleased to keep from me. Should I detect her infide­lity, what is the consequence? If I calmly pocket the abuse, I am laughed at by her and her gallant; if I talk my griefs aloud like a tragedy heroe, I am laughed at by the whole world. The course then I'd take would be, whenever I went out, to tell my wife where I was going, lest I should unexpectedly meet her abroad in company with some dear deceiver. Whenever I re­turned, I would use a peculiar rap at the door, and give four loud hems as I walked deliberately up the stair-case. I would never inquisitively peep under her bed, or look behind the curtains. And even though I knew the captain was there, I would calmly take a dish of my wife's cool tea, and talk of the army with re­verence.

[Page 77] Of all nations, the Russians seem to me to behave most wisely in such circumstances. The wife promises her husband never to let him see her transgressions of this nature; and he as punctually promises, whenever she is so detected, without the least anger, to beat her without mercy: so they both know what each has to expect; the lady transgresses, is beaten, taken again into favour, and all goes on as before.

When a Russian young lady, therefore, is to be mar­ried, her father, with a cudgel in his hand, asks the bridegroom, whether he chuses this virgin for his bride? to which the other replies in the affirmative. Upon this, the father turning the lady three times round, and giving her three strokes with his cudgel on the back; my dear, cries he, these are the last blows you are ever to receive from your tender father, I resign my autho­rity, and my cudgel to your husband; he knows better than me the use of either. The bridegroom knows de­corums too well to accept of the cudgel abruptly; he assures the father that the lady will never want it, and that he would not for the world make any use of it. But the father, who knows what the lady may want better than he, insists upon his acceptance. Upon this, there follows a scene of Russian politeness, while one refuses, and the other offers the cudgel. The whole, however, ends with the bridegroom's taking it, upon which the lady drops a courtesy in token of obedience, and the ceremony proceeds as usual.

There is something excessively fair and open in this method of courtship. By this, both sides are prepared for all the matrimonial adventures that are to follow. Marriage has been compared to a game of skill for life; [Page 78] it is generous thus in both parties to declare they are sharpers in the beginning. In England, I am told both sides use every art to conceal their defects from each other before marriage, and the rest of their lives may be regarded as doing penance for their former dissimu­lation.


From the same.

THE republic of letters is a very common ex­pression among the Europeans; and yet when applied to the learned of Europe, is the most absurd that can be imagined, since nothing is more unlike a republic than the society which goes by that name. From this expression one would be apt to imagine, that the learned were united into a single body, joining their interests, and concurring in the same design. From this one might be apt to compare them to our literary societies in China, where each acknowledges a just sub­ordination; and all contribute to build the temple of science, without attempting from ignorance or envy to obstruct each other.

But very different is the state of learning here; every member of this fancied republic is desirous of govern­ing, and none willing to obey; each looks upon his fel­low as a rival, not an assistant in the same pursuit. They calumniate, they injure, they despise, they ridi­cule each other: if one man writes a book that pleases, others shall write books to shew that he might have given still greater pleasure, or should not have pleased. If one happens to hit upon something new, there are [Page 79] numbers ready to assure the publick that all this was no novelty to them or the learned; that Cardanus or Bru­nus, or some other author too dull to be generally read, had anticipated the discovery. Thus, instead of unit­ing like the members of a commonwealth, they are divided into almost as many factions as there are men; and their jarring constitution, instead of being stiled a republic of letters, should be entituled, an anarchy of literature.

It is true, there are some of superior abilities who reverence and esteem each other; but their mutual ad­miration is not sufficient to shield off the contempt of the crowd. The wise are but few, and they praise with a feeble voice; the vulgar are many, and roar in reproaches. The truly great seldom unite in societies, have few meetings, no cabals; the dunces hunt in full cry till they have run down a reputation, and then snarl and fight with each other about dividing the spoil. Here you may see the compilers, and the book-answer­ers of every month, when they have cut up some re­spectable name, most frequently reproaching each other with stupidity and dullness: resembling the wolves of the Russian sorest, who prey upon venison, or horse­flesh when they can get it; but in cases of necessity, ly­ing in wait to devour each other. While they have new books to cut up, they make a hearty meal; but if this resource should unhappily fail, then it is that cri­tics eat up critics, and compilers rob from compilations.

Confucius observes that it is the duty of the learned to unite society more closely, and to persuade men to become citizens of the world; but the authors I refer to, are not only for disuniting society, but kingdoms [Page 80] also; if the English are at war with France, the dunces of France think it their duty to be at war with those of England. Thus Freron, one of their first rate scrib­lers, thinks proper to characterise all the English writers in the gross. Their whole merit, says he, ‘'consists in exaggeration, and often in extravagance; correct their pieces as you please, there still remains a leaven which corrupts the whole. They sometimes discover genius, but not the smallest share of taste, England is not a soil for the plants of genius to thrive in.'’ This is open enough, with not the least adulation in the pic­ture; but hear what a Frenchman of acknowledged abilities says upon the same subject, ‘'I am at a loss to determine in what we excel the English, or where they excel us; when I compare the merits of both in any one species of literary composition, so many re­putable and pleasing writers present themselves from either country, that my judgment rests in suspense: I am pleased with the disquisition, without finding the object of my enquiry.'’ But lest you should think the French alone are faulty in this respect, hear how an English journalist delivers his sentiments of them. ‘'We are amazed, says he, to find so many works translated from the French, while we have such numbers ne­glected of our own. In our opinion, notwithstanding their same throughout the rest of Europe, the French are the most contemptible reasoners (we had almost said writers) that can be imagined. However, ne­vertheless, excepting, &c.'’ Another English writer, Shaftsbury, if I remember, on the contrary, says, that the French authors are pleasing and judicious, more clear, more methodical, and entertaining than those of his own country.

[Page 81] From these opposite pictures, you perceive that the good authors of either country praise, and the bad re­vile each other; and yet, perhaps, you'll be surprized that indifferent writers should thus be the most apt to censure, as they have the most to apprehend from re­crimination; you may, perhaps, imagine that such as are possessed of same themselves should be most ready to declare their opinions, since what they say, might pass for decision. But the truth happens to be, that the great are solicitous only of raising their own reputa­tions, while the opposite class, alas! are solicitous of bringing every reputation down to a level with their own.

But let us acquit them of malice and envy; a critic is often guided by the same motives that direct his author. The author endeavours to persuade us, that he has written a good book: the critic is equally solicitous to shew that he could write a better, had he thought pro­per. A critic is a being possessed of all the vanity, but not the genius, of a scholar; incapable, from his native weakness, of lifting himself from the ground, he ap­plies to contiguous merit for support, makes the spor­tive sallies of another's imagination his serious employ­ment, pretends to take our feelings under his care, teaches where to condemn, where to lay the emphasis of praise, and may with as much justice be called a man of taste, as the Chinese who measures his wisdom by the length of his nails.

If then a book, spirited or humourous, happens to appear in the republic of letters, several critics are in waiting to bid the public not to laugh at a single line of it, for themselves had read it; and they know what is [Page 82] most proper to excite laughter. Other critics contradict the fulminations of this tribunal, call them all spiders, and assure the public, that they ought to laugh with­out restraint. Another set are in the mean time quietly employed in writing notes to the book, intended to shew the particular passages to be laughed at; when these are out, others still there are who write notes upon notes. Thus a single new book employs not only the paper-makers, the printers, the press-men, the book­binders, the hawkers, but twenty critics, and as many compilers. In short, the body of the learned may be compared to a Persian army, where there are many pioneers, several sutlers, numberless servants, women and children in abundance, and but few soldiers.


To the same.

THE English are as fond of seeing plays acted as the Chinese; but there is a vast difference in the manner of conducting them. We play our pieces in the open air, the English theirs under cover; we act by day-light, they by the blaze of torches. One of our plays continues eight or ten days successively; an English piece seldom takes up above four hours in the representation.

My companion in black, with whom I am now be­ginning to contract an intimacy, introduced me a few nights ago to the play-house, where we placed ourselves conveniently at the foot of the stage. As the curtain [Page 83] was not drawn before my arrival, I had an opportunity of observing the behaviour of the spectators, and in­dulging those reflections which novelty generally in­spires.

The rich in general were placed in the lowest seats, and the poor rose above them in degrees proportioned to their poverty. The order of precedence seemed here inverted; those who were undermost all the day, now enjoyed a temporary eminence, and became mas­ters of the ceremonies. It was they who called for the music, indulging every noisy freedom, and testifying all the insolence of beggary in exaltation.

They who held the middle region seemed not so riotous as those above them, nor yet so tame as those below; to judge by their looks, many of them seem'd strangers there as well as myself. They were chiefly employed during this period of expectation in eating oranges, reading the story of the play, or making as­signations.

Those who sat in the lowest rows, which are called the pit, seemed to consider themselves as judges of the merit of the poet and the performers; they were as­sembled partly to be amused, and partly to shew their taste; appearing to labour under that restraint which an affectation of superior discernment generally pro­duces. My companion, however, informed me, that not one in an hundred of them knew even the first principles of criticism; that they assumed the right of being censors because there was none to contradict their pretensions; and that every man who now called him­self a connoisseur, became such to all intents and pur­poses.

[Page 84] Those who sat in the boxes appeared in the most un­happy situation of all. The rest of the audience came merely for their own amusement; these rather to fur­nish out a part of the entertainment themselves. I could not avoid considering them as acting parts in dumb shew, not a curtesy or nod, that was not the result of art; not a look nor a smile that was not designed for murder. Gentlemen and ladies ogled each other through spectacles; for my companion observed, that blindness was of late become fashionable, all affected indifference and ease, while their hearts at the same time burned for conquest. Upon the whole, the lights, the music, the ladies in their gayest dresses, the men with chearfulness and expectation in their looks, all con­spired to make a most agreeable picture, and to fill an heart that sympathises at human happiness with inex­pressible serenity.

The expected time for the play to begin at last ar­rived, the curtain was drawn, and the actors came on. A woman, who personated a queen, came in curtesying to the audience, who clapped their hands upon her ap­pearance. Clapping of hands is, it seems, the manner of applauding in England: the manner is absurd; but every country, you know, has its peculiar absurdities. I was equally surprised, however, at the submission of the actress, who should have considered herself as a queen, as at the little discernment of the audience who gave her such marks of applause before she attempted to deserve them. Preliminaries between her and the audience being thus adjusted, the dialogue was sup­ported between her and a most hopeful youth, who acted the part of her confidant. They both appeared in extreme distress, for it seems the queen had lost a [Page 85] child some fifteen years before, and still kept its dear resemblance next her heart, while her kind companion bore a part in her sorrows.

Her lamentations grew loud. Comfort is offered, but she detests the very sound. She bids them preach comfort to the winds. Upon this her husband comes in, who, seeing the queen so much afflicted, can him­self hardly refrain from tears or avoid partaking in the soft distress. After thus grieving through three scenes, the curtain dropped for the first act.

Truly, said I to my companion, these kings and queens are very much disturbed at no very great mis­fortune; certain I am were people of humbler stations to act in this manner, they would be thought divested of common sense. I had scarce finished this observation, when the curtain rose, and the king came on in a vio­lent passion. His wife had, it seems, refused his prof­fered tenderness, had spurned his royal embrace; and he seemed resolved not to survive her fierce disdain. After he had thus fretted, and the queen had fretted through the second act, the curtain was let down once more.

Now, says my companion, you perceive the king to be a man of spirit, he feels at every pore; one of your phlegmatic sons of clay would have given the queen her own way, and let her come to herself by degrees; but the king is for immediate tenderness, or instant death: death and tenderness are leading passions of every mo­dern buskin'd heroe; this moment they embrace, and the next stab, mixing daggers and kisses in every period.

[Page 86] I was going to second his remarks, when my attention was engrossed by a new object; a man came in ba­lancing a straw upon his nose, and the audience were clapping their hands in all the raptures of applause. To what purpose, cried I, does this unmeaning figure make his appearance; is he a part of the plot? Un­meaning do you call him, replied my friend in black; this is one of the most important characters of the whole play; nothing pleases the people more than the seeing a straw balanced; there is a great deal of meaning in the straw; there is something suited to every appre­hension in the sight; and a fellow possessed of talents like these is sure of making his fortune.

The third act now began with an actor, who came to inform us that he was the villain of the play, and in­tended to shew strange things before all was over. He was joined by another, who seem'd as much disposed for mischief as he; their intrigues continued through this whole division. If that be a villain, said I, he must be a very stupid one, to tell his secrets without being ask'd; such soliloquies of late are never admitted in China.

The noise of clapping interrupted me once more; a child of six years old was learning to dance on the stage, which gave the ladies and mandarines infinite satisfac­tion. I am sorry, said I, to see the pretty creature so early learning so very bad a trade. Dancing being, I presume, as contemptible here as it is in China. Quite the reverse, interrupted my companion; dancing is a very reputable and genteel employment here; men have a greater chance for encouragement from the merit of their heels than their heads. One who jumps up and [Page 87] flourishes his toes three times before he comes to the ground, may have three hundred a year; he who flou­rishes them four times, gets four hundred; but he who arrives at five is inestimable, and may demand what salary he thinks proper. The female dancers too are valued for this sort of jumping and crossing; and 'tis a cant word among them, that she deserves most who shews highest. But the fourth act is begun, let us be attentive.

In the fourth act the queen finds her long lost child, now grown up into a youth of smart parts and great qualifications; wherefore she wisely considers that the crown will fit his head better than that of her husband, whom she knows to be a driveler. The king discovers her design, and here comes on the deep distress; he loves the queen, and he loves the kingdom; he resolves therefore, in order to possess both, that her son must die. The queen exclaims at his barbarity; is frantic with rage, and at length overcome with sorrow, falls into a fit; upon which the curtain drops, and the act is concluded.

Observe the art of the poet, cries my companion; when the queen can say no more, she falls into a fit. While thus her eyes are shut, while she is supported in the arms of Abigail, what horrors do we not fancy, we feel it in every nerve; take my word for it, that fits are the true aposiopesis of modern tragedy.

The fifth act began, and a busy piece it was. Scenes shifting, trumpets sounding, mobs hallooing, carpets spreading, guards bustling from one door to another; gods, daemons, daggers, racks and ratsbane. But [Page 88] whether the king was killed, or the queen was drowned, or the son was poisoned, I have absolutely forgotten.

When the play was over, I could not avoid observing, that the persons of the drama appeared in as much dis­tress in the first act as the last: how is it possible, said I, to sympathize with them through five long acts; pity is but a short-lived passion; I hate to hear an actor mouthing trifles, neither startings, strainings, nor atti­tudes affect me unless there be cause: after I have been once or twice deceived by those unmeaning alarms, my heart sleeps in peace, probably unaffected by the prin­cipal distress. There should be one great passion aimed at by the actor as well as the poet, all the rest should be subordinate, and only contribute to make that the greater; if the actor therefore exclaims upon every oc­casion in the tones of despair, he attempts to move us too soon; he anticipates the blow, he ceases to affect though he gains our applause.

I scarce perceived that the audience were almost all departed; wherefore, mixing with the crowd, my companion and I got into the street; where essaying an hundred obstacles from coach wheels and palanquin poles, like birds in their flight through the branches of a forest, after various turnings, we both at length got home in safety.


From the same.

THE letter which came by the way of Smyrna, and which you sent me unopened, was from my son. As I have permitted you to take copies of all those I send to China, you might have made no ceremony in opening those directed to me. Either in joy or sorrow, my friend should participate in my feelings. It would give pleasure to see a good man pleased at my success; it would give almost equal pleasure to see him simpa­thise at my disappointment.

Every account I receive from the east seems to come loaded with some new affliction. My wife and daughter were taken from me, and yet I sustained the loss with intrepidity; my son is made a slave among barbarians, which was the only blow that could have reached my heart: yes, I will indulge the transports of nature for a little, in order to shew I can overcome them in the end. True magnanimity consists not in NEVER falling, but in RISING every time we fall.

When our mighty emperor had published his dis­pleasure at my departure, and seized upon all that was mine, my son was privately secreted from his resent­ment. Under the protection and guardianship of Fum Hoam, the best and the wisest of all the inhabitants of China; he was for some time instructed in the learning of the missionaries, and the wisdom of the east. But hearing of my adventures, and incited by filial piety, he was resolved to follow my fortunes, and share my distress.

[Page 90] He passed the confines of China in disguise; hired himself as a camel-driver to a caravan that was crossing the desarts of Thibet, and was within one day's jour­ney of the river Laur, which divides that country from India; when a body of wandering Tartars falling un­expectedly upon the caravan, plundered it, and made those who escaped their first fury slaves. By those he was led into the extensive and desolate regions that border on the shores of the Aral lake.

Here he lived by hunting; and was obliged to sup­ply every day a certain proportion of the spoil to regale his savage masters; his learning, his virtues, and even his beauty were qualifications that no way served to re­commend him; they knew no merit but that of pro­viding large quantities of milk and raw flesh; and were sensible of no happiness but that of rioting on the un­dressed meal.

Some merchants from Mesched, however, coming to trade with the Tartars, for slaves, he was sold among the number, and led into the kingdom of Persia, where he is now detained. He is there obliged to watch the looks of a voluptuous and cruel master, a man fond of pleasure yet incapable of refinement, whom many years service in war has taught pride, but not bravery.

That treasure which I still kept within my bosom, my child, my all that was left to me, is now a slave.* Good heavens, why was this! why have I been intro­duced into this mortal apartment, to be a spectator of my own misfortunes, and the misfortunes of my fellow [Page 91] creatures! wherever I turn, what a labyrinth of doubt, error, and disappointment appears: why was I brought into being; for what purposes made; from whence have I come; whither stray'd; or to what regions am I hastening? Reason cannot resolve. It lends a ray to shew the horrors of my prison, but not a light to guide me to escape them. Ye boasted revelations of the earth, how little do you aid the enquiry.

How am I surprized at the inconsistency of the ma­gi; their two principles of good and evil affright me. The Indian who bathes his visage in urine, and calls it piety, strikes me with astonishment. The christian who believes in three gods is highly absurd. The Jews who pretend that deity is pleased with the effusion of blood, are not less displeasing. I am equally surprized that ra­tional beings can come from the extremities of the earth, in order to kiss a stone, or scatter pebbles. How con­trary to reason are those; and yet all pretend to teach me to be happy.

Surely all men are blind and ignorant of truth. Man­kind wanders, unknowing his way from morning till the evening. Where shall we turn after happiness; or is it wisest to desist from the pursuit? Like reptiles in a corner of some stupendous palace, we peep from our holes; look about us, wonder at all we see, but are ignorant of the great architect's design: O for a revela­tion of himself, for a plan of his universal system: O for the reasons of our creation; or why we were created to be thus unhappy. If we are to experience no other fe­licity but what this life affords, then are we miserable indeed. If we are born only to look about us, repine and die; then has heaven been guilty of injustice. If [Page 92] this life terminates my existence, I despise the blessings of providence, and the wisdom of the giver. If this life be my all, let the following epitaph be written on the tomb of Altangi. By my father's crimes I received this. By my own crimes I bequeath it to posterity!

To the same.

YET while I sometimes lament the cause of humanity, and the depravity of human nature, there now and then appear gleams of greatness that serve to relieve the eye oppressed with the hideous prospect, and resemble those cultivated spots that are sometimes found in the midst of an Asiatic wilderness. I see many superior excellencies among the English, which it is not in the power of all their follies to hide: I see virtues, which in other countries are known only to a few, practised here by every rank of people.

I know not whether it proceeds from their superior opulence that the English are more charitable than the rest of mankind; whether by being possessed of all the conveniencies of life themselves, they have more leisure to perceive the uneasy situation of the distressed; whatever be the motive, they are not only the most charitable of any other nation, but most judicious in distinguishing the properest objects of compassion.

[Page 93] In other counties the giver is generally influenced by the immediate impulse of pity; his generosity is exerted as much to relieve his own uneasy sensations, as to comfort the object in distress: in England bene­factions are of a more general nature; some men of fortune and universal benevolence propose the proper objects; the wants and the merits of the petitioners are canvassed by the people; neither passion nor pity find a place in the cool discussion; and charity is then only exerted when it has received the approbation of reason.

A late instance of this finely directed benevolence forces itself so strongly on my imagination, that it in a manner reconciles me to pleasure, and once more makes me the universal friend of man.

The English and French have not only political reasons to induce them to mutual hatred but often the more prevailing motive of private interest to widen the breach; a war between other countries is carried on collectively, army fights against army, and a man's own private resentment is lost in that of the community; but in England and France the individuals of each country plunder each other at sea without re­dress, and consequently feel that animosity against each other which passengers do at a robber. They have for some time carried on an expensive war; and several captives have been taken on both sides. Those made prisoners by the French have been used with cruelty, and guarded with unnecessary caution. Those taken by the English, being much more numerous, were confined in the ordinary manner; and, not being released by their countrymen, began to feel all the [Page 94] inconveniencies which arise from want of covering and long confinement.

Their countrymen were informed of their deplorable situation; but they, more intent on annoying their enemies than relieving their friends, refused the least assistance. The English now saw thousands of their fellow creatures starving in every prison, forsaken by those whose duty it was to protect them, labouring with disease, and without cloaths to keep off the seve­rity of the season. National benevolence prevailed over national animosity: Their prisoners were indeed enemies, but they were enemies in distress; they ceased to be hateful, when they no longer continued to be formidable: forgetting therefore their national hatred, the men who were brave enough to conquer, were generous enough to forgive: and they, whom all the world seemed to have disclaimed, at last found pity and redress from those they attempted to subdue. A subscription was opened, ample charities collected, proper necessaries procured, and the poor gay sons of a merry nation were once more taught to resume their former gaiety.

When I cast my eye over the list of those who con­tributed on this occasion, I find the names almost entirely English, scarce one foreigner appears a mong the number. It was for Englishmen alone to be capable of such exalted virtue. I own, I cannot look over this catalogue of good men and philosophers without thinking better of myself, because it makes me enter­tain a more favourable opinion of mankind: I am particularly struck with one who writes these words upon the paper that enclosed his benefaction. The [Page 95] mite of an Englishman, a citizen of the world, to Frenchmen, prisoners of war, and naked. I only wish that he may find as much pleasure from his virtues, as I have done in reflecting upon them, that alone will amply reward him. Such a one, my friend, is an honour to human nature; he makes no private distinctions of party; all that are stampt with the divine image of their creator are friends to him; he is a native of the world; and the emperor of China may be proud that he has such a countryman.

To rejoice at the destruction of our enemies, is a foible ingrafted upon human nature, and we must be permitted to indulge it: the true way of atoning for such an ill founded pleasure, is thus to turn our triumph into an act of benevolence, and to testify our own joy by endeavouring to banish anxiety from others.

Hamti, the best and wisest emperor that ever filled the throne, after having gained three signal victories over the Tartars, who had invaded his dominions, re­turned to Nankin in order to enjoy the glory of his conquest. After he had rested for some days, the people who are naturally fond of processions, impa­tiently expected the triumphal entry, which emperors upon such occasions were accustomed to make. Their murmurs came to the emperor's ear. He loved his people, and was willing to do all in his power to satisfy their just desires. He therefore assured them, that he intended, upon the next feast of the Lanthorns, to exhibit one of the most glorious triumphs that had ever been seen in China.

[Page 96] The people were in raptures at his condescension; and, on the appointed day, assembled at the gates of the palace with the most eager expectations. Here they waited for some time without seeing any of those preparations which usually precede a pageant. The lanthorn, with ten thousand tapers, was not yet brought forth; the fire-works, which usually covered the city walls, were not yet lighted; the people once more began to murmur at this delay; when in the midst of their impatience, the palace gates flew open, and the emperor himself appeared, not in splendor or magni­ficence, but in an ordinary habit, followed by the blind, the maimed, and the strangers of the city, all in new cloaths, and each carrying in his hand money enough to supply his necessities for the year. The people were at first amazed, but soon perceived the wisdom of their king, who taught them, that to make one man happy was more truly great than having ten thousand captives groaning at the wheels of his chariot.


To the same.

WHatever may be the merits of the English in other sciences, they seem peculiarly excellent in the art of healing. There is scarcely a disorder in­cident to humanity, against which they are not pos­sessed with a most infallible antidote. The professors of other arts confess the inevitable intricacy of things; talk with doubt, and decide with hesitation; but doubting is entirely unknown in medicine; the adver­tising [Page 97] professors here delight in cases of difficulty; be the disorder never so desperate or radical, you will find numbers in every street, who, by levelling a pill at the part affected, promise a certain cure without loss of time, knowledge of a bedfellow, or hindrance of business.

When I consider the assiduity of this profession, their benevolence amazes me. They not only in ge­neral give their medicines for half value, but use the most persuasive remonstrances to induce the sick to come and be cured. Sure there must be something strangely obstinate in an English patient, who refuses so much health upon such easy terms; does he take a pride in being bloated with a dropsy? Does he find pleasure in the alternations of an intermittent fever? Or feel as much satisfaction in nursing up his gout, as he found pleasure in acquiring it? He must, otherwise he would never reject such repeated assurances of instant relief. What can be more convincing than the manner in which the sick are invited to be well? The doctor first begs the most earnest attention of the public to what he is going to propose; he solemnly affirms the pill was never found to want success; he produces a list of those who have been rescued from the grave by taking it. Yet, notwithstanding all this, there are many here who now and then think proper to be sick; only sick did I say? There are some who even think proper to die! Yes, by the head of Confucius they die; though they might have pur­chased the health-restoring specific for half a crown at every corner.

I am amazed, my dear Fum Hoam, that these doctors who know what an obstinate set of people [Page 98] they have to deal with, have never thought of at­tempting to revive the dead. When the living are found to reject their prescriptions, they ought in con­science to apply to the dead, from whom they can expect no such mortifying repulses; they would find in the dead the most complying patients imaginable; and what gratitude might they not expect from the patient's son, now no longer an heir, and his wife now no longer a widow.

Think not, my friend, that there is any thing chimerical in such an attempt; they already perform cures equally strange: What can be more truly astonishing than to see old age restored to youth, and vigour to the most feeble constitutions; yet this is per­formed here every day; a simple electuary effects these wonders, even without the bungling ceremonies of having the patient boiled up in a kettle, or ground down in a mill.

Few physicians here go through the ordinary courses of education, but receive all their knowledge of medi­cine by immediate inspiration from heaven. Some are thus inspired even in the womb; and what is very remarkable, understand their profession as well at three years old as at threescore. Others have spent a great part of their lives unconscious of any latent excellence, 'til a bankruptcy, or a residence in goal, have called their miraculous powers into exertion. And others still there are indebted to their superlative ignorance alone for success. The more ignorant the practitioner, the less capable is he thought of deceiving. The people here judge, as they do in the east; where it is thought absolutely requisite that a man should be an [Page 99] ideot before he pretend to be either a conjurer or a doctor.

When a physician by inspiration is sent for, he never perplexes the patient by previous examination; he asks very few questions, and those only for form sake. He knows every disorder by intuition. He administers the pill or drop for every distemper; nor is more inqui­sitive than the farrier while he drenches an horse. If the patient lives, then has he one more to add to the surviving list; if he dies, then it may be justly said of the patient's disorder, that as it was not cured, the disorder was incurable.

From the same.

I WAS some days ago in company with a politician, who very pathetically declaimed upon the miserable situation of his country: he assured me, that the whole political machine was moving in a wrong track, and that scarce ever abilities like his own could ever set it right again. "What have we, said he, to do with the wars on the continent; we are a commercial nation; we have only to cultivate commerce like our neighbours the Dutch; it is our business to encrease trade by settling new colonies: riches are the strength of a nation; and for the rest, our ships, our ships alone will protect us." I found it vain to oppose my feeble arguments to those of a man who thought himself wise enough to direct even the mini­stry; I fancied, however, that I saw with more cer­tainty, [Page 100] because I reasoned without prejudice: I there­fore begged leave, instead of argument, to relate a short history. He gave me a smile at once of con­descension and contempt, and I proceeded as follows to describe, THE RISE AND DECLENSION OF THE KINGDOM OF LAO.

Northward of China, and in one of the doublings of the great wall, the fruitful province of Lao enjoyed its liberty and a peculiar government of its own. As the inhabitants were on all sides surrounded by the wall, they feared no sudden invasion from the Tartars; and being each possessed of property, they were zealous in its defence.

The natural consequences of security and affluence in any country is a love of pleasure; when the wants of nature are supplied, we seek after the conveniencies; when possessed of these, we desire the luxuries of life; and when every luxury is provided, it is then ambition takes up the man, and leaves him still something to wish for: the inhabitants of the country from primitive simplicity soon began to aim at elegance, and from elegance proceeded to refinement. It was now found absolutely requisite, for the good of the state, that the people should be divided: formerly the same hand that was employed in tilling the ground, or in dressing up the manufactures, was also in time of need a soldier; but the custom was now changed; for it was per­ceived, that a man bred up from childhood to the arts either of peace or war, became more eminent by this means in his respective profession. The inhabitants were therefore now distinguished into artizans and soldiers; and while those improved the luxuries of life, these watched for the security of the people.

[Page 101] A country possessed of freedom has always two sorts of enemies to fear: foreign foes who attack its existence from without, and internal miscreants who betray its liberties within. The inhabitants of Lao were to guard against both. A country of artizans were most likely to preserve internal liberty; and a nation of soldiers were fittest to repel a foreign invasion. Hence naturally arose a division of opinion between the artizans and the soldiers of the kingdom. The artizans ever complaining, that freedom was threatened by an armed internal force, were for disbanding the soldiers, and insisted that their walls, their walls alone were sufficient to repel the most formidable invasion: the warriors, on the contrary, represented the power of the neighbouring kings, the combinations formed against their state, and the weakness of the wall which every earthquake might overturn. While this alter­cation continued, the kingdom might be justly said to enjoy its greatest share of vigour: every order in the state, by being watchful over each other, contributed to diffuse happiness equally, and ballanced the state. The arts of peace flourished, nor were those of war neglected; the neighbouring powers, who had nothing to apprehend from the ambition of men whom they only saw solicitous not for riches but freedom, were contented to traffick with them: They sent their goods to be manufactured in Lao, and paid a large price for them upon their return.

By these means this people at length became mode­rately rich, and their opulence naturally invited the invader: a Tartar prince led an immense army against them, and they as bravely stood up in their own [Page 102] defence; they were still inspired with a love of their country; they fought the barbarous enemy with forti­tude, and gained a complete victory.

From this moment, which they regarded as the completion of their glory, historians date their down­fall. They had risen in strength by a love of their country, and fell by indulging ambition. The country possessed by the invading Tartars, seemed to them a prize that would not only render them more formidable for the future, but which would encrease their opulence for the present; it was unanimously resolved, there­fore, both by soldiers and artizans, that those desolate regions should be peopled by colonies from Lao. When a trading nation begins to act the conqueror, it is then perfectly undone: it subsists in some measure by the support of its neighbours; while they continue to regard it without envy or apprehension, trade may flourish; but when once it presumes to assert as its right what it only enjoyed as a favour, each country reclaims that part of commerce which it has power to take back, and turns it into some other channel more honourable, though perhaps less convenient.

Every neighbour now began to regard with jealous eyes this ambitious common-wealth, and forbade their subjects any future intercourse with them. The inhabitants of Lao, however, still pursued the same ambitious maxims; it was from their colonies alone they expected riches; and riches, said they, are strength, and strength is security. Numberless were the migrations of the desperate and enterprizing of this country to people the desolate dominions lately [Page 103] possessed by the Tartar; between these colonies and the mother country, a very advantageous traffic was at first carried on, the republic sent their colonies large quantities of the manufactures of the country, and they in return provided the republic with an equivalent in ivory and ginseng. By this means the inhabitants became immensely rich, and this produced an equal degree of voluptuousness; for men who have much money will always find some fantastical modes of enjoyment. How shall I mark the steps by which they declined! Every colony in process of time spreads over the whole country where it first was planted. As it grows more populous, it becomes more polite; and those manufactures for which it was in the beginning obliged to others, it learns to dress up itself: such was the case with the colonies of Lao; they in less than a century became a powerful and a polite people, and the more polite they grew, the less advantageous was the commerce which still subsisted between them and others. By this means the mother country being abridged in its commerce grew poorer but not less luxurious. Their former wealth had introduced luxury; and wherever luxury once fixes, no art can either lessen or remove it. Their commerce with their neighbours was totally destroyed; and that with their colonies was every day naturally and necessarily declining; they still, however, preserved the insolence of wealth, without a power to support it, and persevered in being luxurious while contemptible from poverty. In short, the state resembled one of those bodies bloated with disease, whose bulk is only a symptom of its wretchedness. Their former opulence only rendered them more im­potent, as those individuals who are reduced from [Page 104] riches to poverty, are of all men the most unfortunate and helpless. They had imagined, because their colonies tended to make them rich upon the first acquisition, they would still continue to do so; they now found however, that on themselves alone they should have depended for support; that colonies ever afford but temporary affluence, and when cultivated and polite are no longer useful. From such a concurrence of circum­stances they soon became contemptible. The emperor Honti invaded them with a powerful army. Historians do not say whether their colonies were too remote to lend assistance, or else were desirous of shaking off their dependance: But certain it is, they scarce made any resistance; their walls were now found but a weak defence; and they at length were obliged to acknow­ledge subjection to the empire of China.

Happy, very happy might they have been, had they known when to bound their riches and their glory. Had they known that extending empire is often diminishing power, that countries are ever strongest which are inter­nally powerful; that colonies by draining away the brave and enterprizing, leave the country in the hands of the timid and the avaritious; that walls give little protection, unless manned with resolu­tion; that too much commerce may injure a nation as well as too little; and that there is a wide dif­ference between a conquering and a flourishing empire.


From the same.

THO' fond of many acquaintances, I desire an intimacy only with a few. The man in black whom I have often mentioned, is one whose friendship I cou'd wish to acquire, because he possesses my esteem. His manners it is true, are tinctured with some strange inconsistencies; and he may be justly termed an hu­mourist in a nation of humourists. Tho' he is gene­rous even to profusion, he affects to be thought a pro­digy of parsimony and prudence; though his conver­sation be replete with the most sordid and selfish maxims, his heart is dilated with the most unbounded love. I have known him profess himself a man-hater, while his cheek was glowing with compassion; and while his looks were softened into pity, I have heard him use the language of the most unbounded ill nature. Some affect humanity and tenderness, others boast of having such dispositions from nature; but he is the only man I ever knew who seemed ashamed of his natural benevolence. He takes as much pains to hide his feelings as any hypocrite would to conceal his indifference; but on every unguarded moment the mask drops off, and reveals him to the most superficial observer.

In one of our late excursions into the country, hap­pening to discourse upon the provision that was made for the poor in England, he seemed amazed how any of his countrymen could be so foolishly weak as to relieve occasional objects of charity, when the laws had made such ample provision for their support. In every [Page 106] parish house, says he, the poor are supplied with food, cloaths, fire, and a bed to lie on; they want no more, I desire no more myself; yet still they seem discontented. I'm surprized at the inactivity of our magistrates, in not taking up such vagrants who are only a weight upon the industrious; I'm surprized that the people are [...]ound to relieve them, when they must be at the same time sensible, that it in some measure encourages, idle­ness, extravagance, and imposture. Were I to advise any man for whom I had the least regard, I would caution him by all means not to be imposed upon by their false pretences: let me assure you, Sir, they are impostors, every one of them; and rather merit a prison than relief.

He was procceeding in this strain earnestly, to dis­suade me from an imprudence of which I am seldom guilty; when an old man who still had about him the remnants of tattered finery, implored our compassion. He assured us that he was no common beggar, but forced into the shameful profession, to support a dying wife and five hungry children. Being prepossessed against such falshoods, his story had not the least in­fluence upon me; but it was quite otherwise with the man in black; I could see it visibly operate upon his countenance, and effectually interrupt his harangue. I could easily perceive that his heart burned to relieve the five starving children, but he seemed ashamed to discover his weakness to me. While he thus hesitated between compassion and pride, I pretended to look another way, and he seized this opportunity of giving the poor petitioner a piece of silver, bidding him at the same time, in order that I should hear, go work for his [Page 107] bread, and not teize passengers with such impertinent falsehoods for the future.

As he had fancied himself quite unperceived, he continued, as we proceeded, to rail against beggars with as much animosity as before; he threw in some episodes on his own amazing prudence and oeconomy, with his profound skill in discovering impostors, he explained the manner in which he would deal with beggars were he a magistrate, hinted at enlarging some of the prisons for their reception, and told two stories of ladies that were robbed by beggarmen. He was be­ginning a third to the same purpose, when a sailor with a wooden leg once more crossed our walks, desiring our pity, and blessing our limbs. I was for going on without taking any notice, but my friend looking wish­fully upon the poor petitioner, bid me stop, and he would shew me with how much ease he could at any time detect an impostor.

He now therefore assumed a look of importance, and in an angry tone began to examine the sailor, demanding in what engagement he was thus disabled and rendered unfit for service. The sailor replied in a tone as angrily as he, that he had been an officer on board a private ship of war, and that he had lost his leg abroad in defence of those who did nothing at home. At this reply, all my friend's importance vanished in a moment; he had not a single question more to ask; he now only studied what method he should take to relieve him unobserved. He had however no easy part to act, as he was obliged to preserve the appearance of ill nature before me, and yet relieve himself by relieving the sailor. Casting therefore a furious look upon some [Page 108] bundles of chips which the fellow carried in a string at his back, my friend demanded how he sold his matches; but not waiting for a reply, desired, in a surly tone, to have a shilling's worth. The sailor seemed at first surprised at his demand, but soon recollecting him­self, and presenting his whole bundle, Here, master, says he, take all my cargo, and a blessing into the bargain.

It is impossible to describe with what an air of triumph my friend marched off with his new purchase, he assured me that he was firmly of opinion that those fellows must have stolen their goods, who could thus afford to sell them for half value; he informed me of several different uses to which those chips might be applied; he expatiated largely upon the savings that would result from lighting candles with a match instead of thrusting them into the fire. He averred, that he would as soon have parted with a tooth as his money to those vagabonds, unless for some valuable considera­tion. I cannot tell how long this panegyrick upon frugality and matches might have continued, had not his attention been called off by another object more distressful than either of the former. A woman in rags, with one child in her arms, and another on her back, was attempting to sing ballads, but with such a mournful voice that it was difficult to determine whe­ther she was singing or crying. A wretch, who, in the deepest distress still aimed at good humour, was an object my friend was by no means capable of with­standing: his vivacity, and his discourse were instantly interrupted; upon this occasion his very dissimulation had forsaken him. Even, in my presence, he imme­diately applied his hands to his pockets, in order to re­lieve [Page 109] her: but guess his confusion, when he found he had already given away all the money he carried about him to former objects. The misery painted in the woman's visage, was not half so strongly expressed as the agony in his. He continued to search for some time, but to no purpose, till, at length, recollecting himself, with a face of ineffable good nature, as he had no money, he put into her hands his shillings worth of matches.

To the same.

AS there appeared something reluctantly good in the character of my companion, I must own it surprized me what could be his motives for thus con­cealing virtues which others take such pains to display. I was unable to repress my desire of knowing the his­tory of a man who thus seemed to act under continual restraint, and whose benevolence was rather the effect of appetite than reason.

It was not however till after repeated solicitations he thought proper to gratify my curiosity. "If you are fond, says he, of hearing hair breadth'scapes, my history must certainly please; for I have been for twenty years upon the very verge of starving, with­out ever being starved."

"My father, the younger son of a good family, was possessed of a small living in the church. His edu­cation was above his fortune, and his generosity [Page 110] greater than his education. Poor as he was, he had his flatterers still poorer than himself; for every din­ner he gave them, they returned him an equivalent in praise; and this was all he wanted; the same am­bition that actuates a monarch at the head of an army, influenced my father at the head of his table: he told the story of the ivy-tree, and that was laughed at; he repeated the jest of the two scholars and one pair of breeches, and the company laughed at that; but the story of Taffy in the sedan chair was sure to set the table in a roar; thus his pleasure encreased; in proportion to the pleasure he gave; he loved all the world, and he fancied all the world loved him."

"As his fortune was but small, he lived up to the very extent of it; he had no intentions of leaving his children money, for that was dross; he was re­solved they should have learning; for learning, he used to observe, was better than silver or gold. For this purpose he undertook to instruct us himself; and took as much pains to form our morals, as to im­prove our understanding. We were told that uni­versal benevolence was what first cemented society; we were taught to consider all the wants of mankind as our own; to regard the human face divine with affection and esteem; he wound us up to be mere ma­chines of pity, and rendered us incapable of with­standing the slightest impulse made either by real or fictitious distress; in a word, we were perfectly in­structed in the art of giving away thousands, be­fore we were taught the more necessary qualifica­tions of getting a farthing."

[Page 111] "I cannot avoid imagining, that, thus refined by his lessons out of all my suspicion, and divested of even all the little cunning which nature had given me, I resembled, upon my first entrance into the busy and insidious world, one of those gladiators who were ex­posed without armour in the amphitheatre at Rome. My father, however, who had only seen the world on one side, seemed to triumph in my superior dis­cernment; though my whole stock of wisdom con­sisted in being able to talk like himself upon subjects that once were useful, because they were then topics of the busy world; but that now were utterly useless, because connected with the busy world no longer."

"The first opportunity he had of finding his ex­pectations disappointed, was at the very middling figure I made in the university: he had flattered himself that he should soon see me rising into the foremost rank in literary reputation, but was mor­tified to find me utterly unnoticed and unknown. His disappointment might have been partly ascribed to his having over-rated my talents, and partly to my dislike of mathematical reasonings at a time, when my imagination and memory yet unsatisfied, were more eager after new objects, than desirous of reasoning upon those I knew. This did not, however, please my tutors, who observed, indeed, that I was a little dull; but at the same time allowed that I seemed to be very good natured, and had no harm in me."

"After I had resided at college seven years, my father died, and left me—his blessing. Thus shoved [Page 112] from shore without ill nature to protect, or cunning to guide, or proper stores to subsist me in so dan­gerous a voyage, I was obliged to embark in the wide world at twenty-one. But in order to settle in life, my friends advised (for they always advise when they begin to despise us) they advised me, I say, to go into orders."

"To be obliged to wear a long wig, when I liked a short one, or a black coat when I generally dressed in brown, I thought was such a restraint upon my liberty, that I absolutely rejected the proposal. A priest in England is not the same mortified creature with a bonze in China; with us, not he that fasts best, but eats best, is reckoned the best liver; yet I rejected a life of luxury, indolence and ease, from no other consideration but that boyish one of dress. So that my friends were now perfectly satisfied I was undone, and yet they thought it a pity for one who had not the least harm in him, and was so very good natured."

"Poverty naturally begets dependance, and I was admitted as flatterer to a great man. At first I was surprised, that the situation of a flatterer at a great man's table could be thought disagreeable; there was no great trouble in listening attentively when his lordship spoke, and laughing when he looked round for applause. This even good man­ners might have obliged me to perform. I found, however, too soon, that his lordship was a greater dunce than myself; and from that very moment my power of flattery was at an end. I now rather aimed at setting him right than at receiving his ab­surdities [Page 113] with submission: to flatter those we do not know is an easy task; but to flatter our inti­mate acquaintances, all whose foibles are strongly in our eye, is drudgery insupportable. Every time I now opened my lips in praise, my falshood went to my conscience; his lordship soon perceived me to be unfit for service; I was therefore discharged; my patron at the same time being graciously pleased to observe, that he believed I was tolerably good­natured and had not the least harm in me."

"Disappointed in ambition I had recourse to love. A young lady who lived with her aunt, and was possessed of a very pretty fortune, in her own dispo­sal, had given me, as I fancied, some reasons to ex­pect success. The symptoms by which I was guided were striking; she had always laughed with me at her aukward acquaintance, and at her aunt among the number; she always observed, that a man of sense would make a better husband than a fool, and I as constantly applied the observation in my own favour. She continually talked in my com­pany of friendship and the beauties of the mind, and spoke of Mr. Shrimp my rival's high-heel'd shoes with detestation. These were circumstances which I thought strongly in my favour; so after resolving and re-resolving, I had courage enough to tell her my mind. Miss heard my proposal with serenity, seeming at the same time to study the figures of her fan. Out at last it came. There was but one small objection to complete our happiness, which was no more than—that she was married three months be­fore to Mr. Shrimp with high-heeled shoes! By way of consolation however she observed, that tho' [Page 114] I was disappointed in her, my addresses to her aunt would probably kindle her into sensibility; as the old lady always allowed me to be very good na­tured, and not to have the least share of harm in me."

"Yet still I had friends, numerous friends, and to them I was resolved to apply. O friendship! thou fond soother of the human breast, to thee we fly in every calamity; to thee the wretched seek for suc­cour; on thee the care tired son of misery fondly re­lies; from thy kind assistance the unfortunate al­ways hopes relief, and may be ever sure of—dis­appointment! my first application was to a city scrivener, who had frequently offered to lend me money when he knew I did not want it. I informed him that now was the time to put his friendship to the test; that I wanted to borrow a couple of hundreds for a certain occasion, and was resolved to take it up from him. And pray, Sir, cried my friend, do you want all this money? Indeed I never wanted it more, returned I. I am sorry for that, cries the scrivener, with all my heart; for they who want money when they come to borrow, will always want money when they should come to pay."

"From him I flew with indignation to one of the best friends I had in the world, and made the same request. Indeed, Mr. Drybone, cries my friend, I always thought it would come to this. You know, sir, I would not advise you but for your own good; but your conduct has hitherto been ridiculous in the highest degree, and some of your acquaintance always thought you a very silly fellow; let me see, you want two [Page 115] hundred pounds; do you want only two hundred, sir, exactly? To confess a truth, returned I, I shall want three hundred; but then I have another friend from whom I can borrow the rest. Why then, replied my friend, if you would take my ad­vice; and you know I should not presume to advise you but for your own good, I would recommend it to you to borrow the whole sum from that other friend; and then one note will serve for all, you know."

"Poverty now began to come fast upon me, yet instead of growing more provident or cautious as I grew poor, I became every day more indolent and simple. A friend was arrested for fifty pounds, I was unable to extricate him except by becoming his bail. When at liberty he fled from his creditors, and left me to take his place. In prison I expected greater satisfactions than I had enjoyed at large. I hoped to converse with men in this new world simple and believing like myself, but I found them as cunning and as cautious as those in the world I had left behind. They spunged upon my money whilst it lasted, borrowed my coals and never paid them, and cheated me when I played at cribbage. All this was done because they believed me to be very good­natured, and knew that I had no harm in me."

"Upon my first entrance into this mansion, which is to some the abode of despair, I felt no sensations different from these I experienced abroad. I was now on one side the door, and those who were un­confined were on the other; this was all the dif­ference between us. At first indeed I felt some un­easiness, [Page 116] in considering how I should be able to pro­vide this week for the wants of the week ensuing; but after some time, if I found myself sure of eating one day, I never troubled my head how I was to be supplied another I seized every precarious meal with the utmost good humour, indulged no rants of spleen at my situation, never called down heaven and all the stars to behold me dining upon an half­penny-worth of radishes; my very companions were taught to believe that I liked sallad better than mutton. I contented myself with thinking, that all my life I should either eat white bread or brown; considered that all that happened was best, laughed when I was not in pain, took the world [...] it went, and read Tacitus often, for want of more books and company."

"How long I might have continued in this torpid state of simplicity I cannot tell, had I not been rouzed by seeing an old acquaintance, whom I knew to be a prudent blockhead preferred to a place in the go­vernment. I now found that I had pursued a wrong track, and that the true way of being able to relieve others, was first to aim at independence myself. My immediate care, therefore, was to leave my pre­sent habitation, and make an entire reformation in my conduct and behaviour. For a free, open, undesigning deportment, I put on that of closeness, prudence and oeconomy. One of the most heroic actions I ever performed, and for which I shall praise myself as long as I live, was the refusing half a crown to an old acquaintance, at the time when he wanted [Page 117] it, and I had it to spare; for this alone I deserve to be decreed an ovation."

"I now therefore pursued a course of uninterrupted frugality, seldom wanted a dinner, and was conse­quently invited to twenty. I soon began to get the character of a saving hunks that had money; and insensibly grew into esteem. Neighbours have ask'd my advice in the disposal of their daughters, and I have always taken care not to give any. I have con­tracted a friendship with an alderman, only by ob­serving, that if we take a farthing from a thousand pound it will be a thousand pound no longer. I have been invited to a pawnbroker's table by pretend­ing to hate gravy; and am now actually upon treaty of marriage with a rich widow, for only having observed that the bread was rising. If ever I am asked a question whether I know it or not, instead of answering, I only smile and look wise. If a charity is proposed, I go about with the hat, but put no­thing in myself. If a wretch solicits my pity, I ob­serve that the world is filled with impostors, and take a certain method of not being deceived by never relieving. In short, I now find the truest way of finding esteem even from the indigent, is to give away nothing, and thus have much in our power to give."

To the same.

LATELY in company with my friend in black, whose conversation is now both my amusement and instruction, I could not avoid observing the great numbers of old bachelors and maiden ladies with which this city seems to be over-run. Sure marriage, said I, is not sufficiently encouraged, or we should never be­hold such crowds of battered beaux and decayed co­quets still attempting to drive a trade they have been so long unfit for, and swarming upon the gaiety of the age. I behold an old bachelor in the most contemp­tible light, as an animal that lives upon the common stock without contributing his share: he is a beast of prey, and the laws should make use of as many strata­gems and as much force to drive the reluctant savage into the toils, as the Indians when they hunt the hyena or the rhinoceros. The mob should be permitted to halloo after him, boys might play tricks on him with impunity, every well-bred company should laugh at him, and if, when turned of sixty, he offered to make love, his mistress might spit in his face, or what would be perhaps a greater punishment, should fairly grant him the favour.

As for old maids, continued I, they should not be treated with so much severity, because I suppose none would be so if they could. No lady in her senses would chuse to make a subordinate figure at christen­ings and lyings-in, when she might be the principal her­self; nor curry favour with a sister-in-law, when she [Page 119] might command an husband, nor toil in preparing cus­tards when she might lie a bed and give directions how they ought to be made, nor stifle all her sensations in de­mure formality, when she might with matrimonial free­dom shake her acquaintance by the hand, and wink at a double entendre. No lady could be so very silly as to live single, if she could help it. I consider an unmarried lady declining into the vale of years, as one of those charming countries bordering on China that lies waste for want of proper inhabitants We are not to accuse the country, but the ignorance of its neighbours, who are insensible of its beauties, though at liberty to enter and cultivate the soil.

"Indeed, Sir, replied my companion, you are very little acquainted with the English ladies to think they are old maids against their will. I dare venture to affirm that you can hardly select one of them all, but has had frequent offers of marriage, which, either pride or avarice has not made her reject. Instead of thinking it a disgrace, they take every occasion to boast of their former cruelty; a soldier does not exult more when he counts over the wounds he has received, than a female veteran when she re­lates the wounds she has formerly given: exhaustless when she begins a narrative of the former death­dealing power of her eyes. She tells of the knight in gold lace who died with a single frown, and never rose again till—he was married to his maid: Of the squire who being cruelly denied fell in a rage, flew to the window, and lifting up the sash, threw him­self in an agony—into his arm chair: Of the parson, who crossed in love, resolutely swallowed opium, [Page 120] which banished the stings of despised love by—mak­ing him sleep. In short, she talks over her former losses with pleasure, and, like some tradesmen, finds consolation in the many bankruptcies she has suffer­ed."

"For this reason, whenever I see a superannuated beauty still unmarried, I tacitly accuse her either of pride, avarice, coquetry, or affectation. There's Miss Jenny Tinderbox, I once remember her to have had some beauty, and a moderate fortune. Her elder sister happened to marry a man of quality, and this seemed as a statute of virginity against poor Jane. Because there was one lucky hit in the family, she was resolved not to disgrace it by introducing a tradesman; by thus rejecting her equals, and ne­glected or despised by her superiors, she now acts in the capacity of tutoress to her sister's children, and undergoes the drudgery of three servants without receiving the wages of one."

"Miss Squeeze was a pawnbroker's daughter; her father had early taught her that money was a very good thing, and left her a moderate fortune at his death. She was so perfectly sensible of the value of what she had got, that she was resolved never to part with a farthing without an equality on the part of her suitor; she thus refused several offers made her by people who wanted to better themselves, as the saying is; and grew old and ill-natured, with­out ever considering that she should have made an abatement in her pretensions, from her face being pale and marked with the small-pox."

[Page 121]"Lady Betty Tempest on the contrary had beauty, with fortune and family. But, fond of conquest, she passed from triumph to triumph; she had read plays and romances, and there had learned that a plain man of common sense was no better than a fool; such she refused, and sighed only for the gay, giddy, inconstant and thoughtless; after she had thus rejected hundreds who liked her, and sigh­ed for hundreds who despised her, she found herself insensibly deserted: at present she is company only for her aunts and cousins, and sometimes makes one in a country-dance, with only one of the chairs for a partner, casts off round a joint-stool, and sets to a corner cupboard. In a word, she is treated with civil contempt from every quarter, and placed, like a piece of old fashioned lumber, merely to fill up a corner."

"But Sophronia, the sagacious Sophronia; how shall I mention her? She was taught to love Greek, and hate the men from her very infancy: she has rejected fine gentlemen, because they were not pe­dants, and pedants because they were not fine gentle­men; her exquisite sensibility has taught her to discover every fault in every lover, and her inflexible justice has prevented her pardoning them; thus she rejected several offers, till the wrinkles of age had overtaken her; and now, without one good feature in her face, she talks incessantly of the beauties of the mind."


From the same.

WERE we to estimate the learning of the English by the number of books that are every day published among them, perhaps no country, not even China itself, could equal them in this particular. I have reckoned not less than twenty-three new books published in one day; which upon computation, makes eight thousand three hundred and ninety-five in one year. Most of these are not confined to one single science, but embrace the whole circle. History, po­liticks, poetry, mathematics, metaphysics, and the philosophy of nature are all comprized in a manual not larger than that in which our children are taught the letters. If then we suppose the learned of England to read but an eighth part of the works which daily come from the press (and sure none can pretend to learning upon less easy terms) at this rate every scholar will read a thousand books in one year. From such a calculation you may conjecture what an amazing fund of literature a man must be possessed of, who thus reads three new books every day, not one of which but contains all the good things that ever were said or written.

And yet I know not how it happens, but the En­glish are not in reality so learned as would seem from this calculation. We meet but few who know all arts and sciences to perfection; whether it is that the ge­nerality are incapable of such extensive knowledge, or that the authors of those books are not adequate in­structors. [Page 123] In China, the emperor himself takes cog­nisance of all the doctors in the kingdom who profess authorship. In England, every man may be an author that can write; for they have by law a liberty not only of saying what they please, but of being also as dull as they please.

Yesterday I testified my surprize to the man in black, where writers could be found in sufficient number to throw off the books I daily saw crowding from the press. I at first imagined, that their learned seminaries might take this method of instructing the world. But to obviate this objection, my companion assured me, that the doctors of colleges never wrote, and that some of them had actually forgot their reading; but if you desire, continued he, to see a collection of authors, I fancy, I can introduce you this evening to a club, which assembles every Saturday at seven, at the sign of the Broom near Islington, to talk over the business of the last, and the entertainment of the week ensuing. I accepted his invitation, we walked together, and en­tered the house some time before the usual hour for the company assembling.

My friend took this opportunity of letting me into the characters of the principal members of the club, not even the host excepted, who, it seems, was once an author himself, but preferred by a bookseller to this situation as a reward for his former services.

The first person, said he, of our society, is doctor Nonentity, a metaphysician. Most people think him a profound scholar; but as he seldom speaks, I cannot be positive in that particular; he generally spreads [Page 124] himself before the fire, sucks his pipe, talks little, drinks much, and is reckoned very good company. I'm told he writes indexes to perfection, he makes essays on the origin of evil, philosophical enquiries upon any subject, and draws up an answer to any book upon twenty-four hours warning. You may distin­guish him from the rest of the company by his long grey wig, and the blue handkerchief round his neck.

The next to him in merit and esteem is Tim Sylla­bub, a drole creature; he sometimes shines as a star of the first magnitude among the choice spirits of the age; he is reckoned equally excellent at a rebus, a riddle, a baudy song, and an hymn for the tabernacle. You will know him by his shabby finery, his powdered wig, dirty shirt, and broken silk stockings.

After him succeeds Mr. Tibs, a very useful hand; he writes receipts for the bite of a mad dog, and throws off an eastern tale to perfection; he under­stands the business of an author as well as any man; for no bookseller alive can cheat him; you may distinguish him by the peculiar clumsiness of his figure and the coarseness of his coat: however, though it be coarse, (as he frequently tells the company) he has paid for it.

Lawyer Squint is the politician of the society; he makes speeches for parliament, writes addresses to his fellow subjects, and letters to noble commanders; he gives the history of every new play, and finds season­able thoughts upon every occasion.—My companion [Page 12] was proceeding in his description, when the host came running in with terror on his countenance to tell us, that the door was beset with bailiffs. If that be the case then, says my companion, we had as good be going; for I am positive we shall not see one of the company this night. Wherefore disappointed we were both obliged to return home, he to enjoy the oddities which compose his character alone, and I to write as usual to my friend the occurrences of the day.


From the same.

BY my last advices from Moscow, I find the caravan has not yet departed for China: I still continue to write, expecting that you may receive a large number of my letters at once. In them you will find rather a minute detail of English pecu­liarities, than a general picture of their manners or dis­position. Happy it were for mankind if all travellers would thus, instead of characterising a people in general terms, lead us into a detail of those minute circumstan­ces which first influenced their opinion: the genius of a country should be investigated with a kind of experi­mental enquiry: by this means we should have more precise and just notions of foreign nations, and detect travellers themselves when they happened to form wrong conclusions.

[Page 26] My friend and I repeated our visit to the club of au­thors; where, upon our entrance, we found the mem­bers all assembled and engaged in a loud debate.

The poet, in shabby finery, holding a manuscript in his hand, was earnestly endeavouring to persuade the company to hear him read the first book of an heroic poem, which he had composed the day before. But against this, all the members very warmly objected. They knew no reason why any member of the club should be indulged with a particular hearing, when many of them had published whole volumes which had never been looked in. They insisted that the law should be observed, where reading in company was expresly noticed. It was in vain that the plaintiff pleaded the peculiar merit of his piece; he spoke to an assembly insensible to all his remonstrances; the book of laws was opened, and read by the secretary, where it was expresly enacted, "That whatsoever poet, speech-maker, c [...]itic, or historian, should presume to engage the company by reading his own works, he was to lay down sixpence previous to opening the manuscript, and should be charged one shilling an hour while he continued reading; the said shilling to be equally distributed among the company as a recompence for their trouble."

Our poet seemed at first to shrink at the penalty, hesitating for some time whether he should deposit the fine, or shut up the poem; but looking round, and perceiving two strangers in the room, his love of fame out-weighed his prudence, and laying down the sum by law established, he insisted on his prerogative.

[Page 127] A profound silence ensuing, he began by explaining his design. "Gentlemen, says he, the present piece is not one of your common epic poems, which come from the press like paper kites in summer; there are none of your Turnuses or Dido's in it; it is an heroical descrip­tion of nature. I only beg you'll endeavour to make your souls in unison with mine, and hear with the same enthusiasm with which I have written. The poem begins with the description of an author's bed-chamber: the picture was sketched in my own apartment; for you must know, gentlemen, that I am myself the heroe. Then putting himself into the attitude of an orator, with all the emphasis of voice and action, he proceeded.

" Where the Red Lion flaring o'er the way,
Invites each passing stranger that can pay;
Where Calvert's butt, and Parson's black champaign,
Regale the drabs and bloods of Drury-lane;
There in a lonely room, from bailiffs snug,
The muse found Scroggen stretch'd beneath a rug,
A window patch'd with paper lent a ray,
That dimly shew'd the state in which he lay;
The sanded floor that grits beneath the tread;
The humid wall with paltry pictures spread:
The royal game of goose was there in view,
And the twelve rules the royal martyr drew;
The seasons fram'd with listing found a place,
And brave prince William shew'd his lamp-black face:
The morn was cold, he views with keen desire
The rusty grate unconscious of a fire:
With beer and milk arrears the freize was scor'd,
And five crack'd tea-cups dress'd the chimney board,
[Page 128] A night-cap deck'd his brows instead of bay,
A cap by night—a stocking all the day!

With this last line he seemed so much elated, that he was unable to proceed: "There gentlemen, cries he, there is a description for you; Rabelais's bed­chamber is but a fool to it:

A cap by night—a stocking all the day!

There is sound and sense, and truth, and nature in the trifling compass of ten little syllables."

He was too much employed in self-admiration to observe the company: who by nods, winks, shrugs, and stifled laughter, testified every mark of contempt. He turned severally to each for their opinion, and found all however ready to applaud. One swore it was ini­mitable; another said it was damn'd fine; and a third cried out in rapture Carissimo. At last addressing himself to the president, and pray, Mr. Squint, says he, let us have your opinion. Mine, answered the president, (taking the manuscript out of the author's hand's) may this glass suffocate me, but I think it equal to any thing I have seen; and I fancy, (continued he doubling up the poem, and forcing it into the author's pocket, that you will get great honour when it comes out; so I shall beg leave to put it in We will not intrude upon your good-nature, in desiring to hear more of it at present; ex ungue Herculem, we are satisfied, perfectly satisfied. The author made two or three attempts to pull it out a second time, and the president made as many to prevent him. Thus, though with reluctance, he was at last obliged to sit down, con­tented with the commendations for which he had paid.

[Page 129] When this tempest of poetry and praise was blown over, one of the company changed the subject, by wondering how any man could be so dull as to write poetry at present, since prose itself would hardly pay. Would you think it, gentlemen, continued he, I have actually written last week sixteen prayers, twelve bawdy jests, and three sermons, all at the rate of six­pence a-piece; and what is still more extraordinary the bookseller has lost by the bargain. Such sermons would once have gain'd me a prebend's stall; but now alas we have neither piety, taste, nor humour among us. Positively if this season does not turn out better than it has begun, unless the ministry commit some blunders to furnish us with a new topic of abuse, I shall resume my old business of working at the press, instead of finding it employment.

The whole club seemed to join in condemning the sea­son, as one of the worst that had come for some time; a gentleman particularly observed that the nobility were never known to subscribe worse than at present. "I know not how it happens, said he, though I follow them up as close as possible, yet I can hardly get a single subscription in a week. The houses of the great are as inaccessible as a frontier garrison at mid-night. I never see a nobleman's door half opened that some surly porter or footman does not stand full in the breach. I was yesterday to wait with a subscription proposal upon my lord Squash the creolian. I had posted myself at his door the whole morning, and just as he was getting into his coach, thrust my proposal snugg into his hand folded up in the form of a letter from myself. He just glanced [...] the superscription, and, not knowing the hand, consigned it to his valet de chambre; this respectable personage treated it as his [Page 130] master, and put it into the hands of the porter. The porter grasped my proposal frowning; and, measuring my figure from top to toe, put it back into my own hands unopened.

"To the devil I pitch all the nobility, cries a little man, in a peculiar accent, I am sure they have of late used me most scurvily. You must know, gentlemen, some time ago, upon the arrival of a certain noble duke from his travels, I set myself down, and vamped up a fine flaunting, poetical panegyric, which I had written in such a strain, that I fancied it would have even wheedled milk from a mouse. In this I repre­sented the whole kingdom welcoming his grace to his native soil, not forgetting the loss France and Italy would sustain in their arts by his departure. I expected to touch for a bank bill at least; so folding up my verses in gilt paper, I gave my last half crown to a genteel servant to be the bearer. My letter was safely con­veyed to his grace, and the servant after four hours absence, during which time I led the life of a fiend, returned with a letter four times as big as mine. Guess my extasy at the prospect of so fine a return. I eagerly took the pacquet into my hands, that trembled to receive it. I kept it some time unopened before me brooding over the expected treasure it contained; when opening it, as I hope to be saved, gentlemen, his grace had sent me in payment for my poem no Bank bills, but six copies of verse, each longer than mine, addressed to him upon the same occasion."

"A nobleman, cries a member, who had hitherto been silent, is created as much for the confusion of us authors as the catch-pole. I'll tell you a story, gen­tlemen, [Page 131] which is as true as that this pipe is made of clay. When I was delivered of my first book, I owed my taylor for a suit of cloaths, but that is nothing new, you know, and may be any man's case as well as mine. Well, owing him for a suit of cloaths, and hearing that my book took very well, he sent for his money, and insisted upon being paid immediately: though I was at that time rich in fame, for my book run like wild fire, yet I was very short in money, and being unable to satisfy his demand, prudently resolved to keep my chamber, preferring a p ison of my own chusing at home, to one of my taylor's chusing abroad. In vain the bailiffs used all their arts to decoy me from my citadel, in vain they sent to let me know that a gentleman wanted to speak with me at the next tavern, in vain they came with an urgent message from my aunt in the country; in vain I was told that a particular friend was at the point of death, and desired to take his last farewell; I was deaf, insensible, rock, adamant, the bailiffs could make no impression on my hard heart, for I effectually kept my liberty by never stirring out of the room.

"This was very well for a fortnight; when one morning I received a most splendid message from the earl of Doomsday, importing, that he had read my book, and was in raptures with every line of it; he impatiently longed to see the author, and had some de­signs which might turn out greatly to my advantage. I paused upon the contents of this message, and found there could be no deceit, for the card was gilt at the edges, and the bearer, I was told, had quite the looks of a gentleman. Witness ye powers, how my heart triumphed at my own importance; I saw a long per­spective [Page 132] of felicity before me, I applauded the taste of the times, which never saw genius forsaken; I had prepared a set introductory speech for the occasion, five glaring compliments for his lordship, and two more modest for myself. The next morning, therefore, in order to be punctual to my appointment, I took coach, and ordered the fellow to drive to the street and house mentioned in his lordship's address. I had the pre­caution to pull up the windows as I went along to keep off the busy part of mankind, and, big with expectation, fancied the coach never went fast enough. At length, however, the wish'd for moment of its stop­ping arrived, this for some time I impatiently expected, and letting down the door in a transport, in order to take a previous view of his lordship's magnificent palace and situation, I found—poison to my sight! I found myself, not in an elegant street, but a paltry lane, not at a nobleman's door, but the door of a spunging­house; I found the coachman had all this while been driving me to jail, and I saw the bailiff with a devil's face, coming out to secure me.

To a philosopher, no circumstance, however trifling, is too minute; he finds instruction and entertainment in occurrences, which are passed over by the rest of man­kind as low, trite, and indifferent; it is from the num­ber of these particulars, which, to many, appear insig­nificant, that he is at last enabled to form general con­clusions; this, therefore, must be my excuse for send­ing so far as China accounts of manners and follies, which, though minute in their own nature, serve more truly to characterise this people than histories of their public treaties, courts, ministers, negotiations, and am­bassadors.


From the same.

THE English have not yet brought the art of gar­dening to the same perfection with the Chinese, but have lately begun to imitate them; nature is now followed with greater assiduity than formerly; the trees are suffered to shoot out into the utmost luxuri­ance; the streams, no longer forced from their native beds, are permitted to wind along the vallies: sponta­neous flowers take place of the finished parterre, and the enamelled meadow of the shaven green.

Yet still the English are far behind us in this charm­ing art; their designers have not yet attained a power of uniting instruction with beauty. An European will scarcely conceive my meaning, when I say that there is scarce a garden in China which does not contain some fine moral, couch'd under the general design, where one is not taught wisdom as he walks, and feels the force of some noble truth, or delicate precept resulting from the disposition of the groves, streams or grotto's. Permit me to illustrate what I mean by a de­scription of my gardens at Quamsi. My heart still hovers round those scenes of former happiness with pleasure; and I find satisfaction in enjoying them at this distance, though but in imagination.

You descended from the house between two groves of trees, planted in such a manner, that they were im­penetrable to the eye; while on each hand the way was adorned with all that was beautiful in porcelaine, statuary, and painting. This passage from the house [Page 134] opened into an area surrounded with rocks, flowers, trees and shrubs, but all so disposed as if each was the spontaneous production of nature. As you proceeded forward on this lawn, to your right and left-hand were two gates, opposite each other, of very different architecture and design; and before you lay a temple built rather with minute elegance than ostentation.

The right-hand gate was planned with the utmost simplicity, or rather rudeness; ivy clasp'd round the pillars, the baleful cypress hung over it; time seemed to have destroyed all the smoothness and regularity of the stone: two champions with lifted clubs appeared in the act of guarding its access; dragons and serpents were seen in the most hideous attitudes, to deter the spectator from approaching; and the perspective view that lay behind seemed dark and gloomy to the last de­gree; the stranger was tempted to enter only from the motto: PERVIA VIRTUTI.

The opposite gate was formed in a very different manner; the architecture was light, elegant, and invi­ting; flowers hung in wreaths round the pillars; all was finished in the most exact and masterly manner; the very stone of which it was built still preserved its polish; nymphs, wrought by the hand of a master, in the most alluring attitudes, beckoned the stranger to approach; while all that lay behind, as far as the eye could reach, seemed gay, luxuriant, and capable of affording endless pleasure. The motto itself contri­buted to invite him; for over the gate was written these words, FACILIS DESCENSUS.

By this time I fancy you begin to perceive that the [Page 135] gloomy gate was designed to represent the road to vir­tue; the opposite, the more agreeable passage to vice. It is but natural to suppose, that the spectator was always tempted to enter by the gate which offered him so many allurements; I always in these cases left him to his choice; but generally found that he took to the left, which promised most entertainment.

Immediately upon his entering the gate of vice, the trees and flowers were disposed in such a manner as to make the most pleasing impression; but as he walked farther on he insensibly found the garden assume the air of a wilderness, the landskips began to darken, the paths grew more intricate, he appeared to go down­wards, frightful rocks seemed to hang over his head, gloomy caverns, unexpected precipices, awful ruins, heaps of unburied bones, and terrifying sounds, caused by unseen waters, began to take place of what at first appeared so lovely: it was in vain to attempt returning, the labyrinth was too much perplexed for any but myself to find the way back. In short, when sufficiently im­pressed with the horrors of what he saw, and the im­prudence of his choice, I brought him by an hidden door, a shorter way back into the area from whence at first he had strayed.

The gloomy gate now presented itself before the stranger; and though there seemed little in its appear­ance to tempt his curiosity, yet encouraged by the motto, he generally proceeded. The darkness of the entrance, the frightful figures that seemed to obstruct his way, the trees of a mournful green, conspired at first to disgust him: as he went forward, however, all began to open and wear a more pleasing appearance, [Page 136] beautiful cascades, beds of flowers, trees loaded with fruit or blossoms, and unexpected brooks, improved the scene; he now found that he was ascending, and, as he proceeded, all nature grew more beautiful, the prospect widened as he went higher, even the air itself seemed to become more pure. Thus pleas­ed and happy from unexpected beauties, I at last led him to an arbour, from whence he could view the garden and the whole country around, and where he might own, that the road to Virtue terminated in Hap­piness.

Though from this description you may imagine, that a vast tract of ground was necessary to exhibit such a pleasing variety in, yet be assured, that I have seen several gardens in England take up ten times the space which mine did, without half the beauty. A very small extent of ground is enough for an elegant taste; the greater room is required if magnificence is in view. There is no spot, tho' ever so little, which a skilful designer might not thus improve, so as to convey a delicate allegory, and impress the mind with truths the most useful and necessary.


From the same.

IN a late excursion with my friend into the country, a gentleman with a blue ribbon tied round his shoulder, and in a chariot drawn by six horses passed swiftly by us, attended with a numerous train of captains, [Page 137] lacquies, and coaches filled with women. When we were recovered from the dust raised by his cavalcade, and could continue our discourse without danger of suffocation, I observed to my companion, that all this state and equipage which he seemed to despise, would in China be regarded with the utmost reverence, be­cause such distinctions were always the reward of me­rit; the greatness of a Mandarine's retinue being a most certain mark of the superiority of his abilities or virtue.

The gentleman who has now passed us, replied my companion, has no claims from his own merit to distinc­tion; he is possessed neither of abilities nor virtue; it is enough for him that one of his ancestors was pos­sessed of these qualities two hundred years before him. There was a time, indeed, when his family deserved their titles, but they are long since degenerated, and his ancestors for more than a century have been more and more solicitous to keep up the breed of their dogs and horses than that of their children. This very no­bleman, simple as he seems, is descended from a race of statesmen and heroes; but unluckily his great grand­father marrying a cook maid, and she having a trifling passion for his lordship's groom, they some-how crossed the strain, and produced an heir, who took after his mother in his great love to good eating, and his father in a violent affection for horse flesh. These passions have for some generations passed on from father to son, and are now become the characteristics of the family, his present lordship being equally remarkable for his kitchen and stable.

But such a nobleman, cried I, deserves our pity thus placed in so high a sphere of life, which only the more [Page 138] exposes to contempt. A king may confer titles, but it is personal merit alone that insures respect. I suppose, added I, that such men who are so very unfit to fill up their dignity, are despised by their equals, neglected by their inferiors, and condemned to live among involun­tary dependants in irksome solitude?

You are still under a mistake, replied my companion, for though this nobleman is a stranger to generosity; though he takes twenty opportunities in a day of letting his guests know how much he despises them; though he is possessed neither of taste, wit, nor wisdom; though incapable of improving others by his conversa­tion, and never known to enrich any by his bounty, yet for all this, his company is eagerly sought after: he is a lord, and that is as much as most people desire in a companion. Quality and title have such allure­ments, that hundreds are ready to give up all their own importance, to cringe, to flatter, to look little, and to pall every pleasure in constraint, merely to be among the great, though without the least hopes of improving their understanding or sharing their generosity; they might be happy among th [...] equals, but those are des­pised for company, where they are despised in turn. You saw what a crowd of humble cousins, card-ruined beaus, and captains on half pay, were willing to make up this great man's retinue down to his country seat. Not one of all these that could not lead a more com­fortable life at home in their little lodging of three shillings a week, with their lukewarm dinner, served up between two pewter plates from a cook's shop. Yet poor devils, they are willing to undergo the imperti­nence and pride of their entertainer, merely to be thought to live among the great: they are willing to [Page 139] pass the summer in bondage, though conscious they are taken down only to approve his lordship's taste upon every occasion, to tag all his stupid observations with a very true, to praise his stable, and descant upon his claret and cookery.

The pitiful humiliations of the gentlemen you are now describing, said I, puts me in mind of a custom among the Tartars of Koreki, not entirely dissimilar to this we are now considering*. The Russians, who trade with them carry thither a kind of mushrooms, which they exchange for furrs of squirrels, ermins, sables, and foxes. These mushrooms the rich tartars lay up in large quantities for the winter; and when a nobleman makes a mushroom feast, all the neighbours around are invited. The mushrooms are prepared by boiling, by which the water acquires an intoxicating quality, and is a sort of drink which the Tartars prize beyond all other. When the nobility and ladies are assembled, and the ceremonies usual between people of distinction over, the mushroom broth goes freely round; they laugh, talk double entendre, grow fuddled, and become excellent company. The poorer sort, who love mushroom broth to distraction as well as the rich, but cannot afford it at the first hand, post them­selves on these occasions round the huts of the rich, and watch the opportunities of the ladies and gentle­men as they come down to pass their liquor, and hold­ing a wooden bowl, catch the delicious fluid very little altered by filtration, being still strongly tinctured with the intoxicating quality. Of this they drink with the [Page 140] utmost satisfaction, and thus they get as drunk and as jovial as their betters.

Happy nobility, cries my companion, who can fear no diminution of respect, unless by being seized with a strangury; and who when most drunk are most use­ful; though we have not this custom among us, I foresee, that if it were introduced, we might have many a toad-eater in England ready to drink from the wooden bowl on these occasions, and to praise the flavour of his lordship's liquor: As we have different classes of gentry, who knows but we might see a lord holding the bowl to a minister, a knight holding it to his lord­ship, and a simple 'squire drinking it doubled distilled from the loins of knighthood. For my part, I shall never for the future hear a great man's flatterers ha­ranguing in his praise, that I shall not fancy I behold the wooden bowl; for I can see no reason why a man who can live easily and happily at home, should bear the drudgery of decorum and the impertinence of his entertainer, unless intoxicated with a passion for all that was quality; unless he thought that whatever came from the great was delicious, and had the tincture of the mushroom in it.


From the same.

I AM disgusted, O Fum Hoam, even to sickness dis­gusted. Is it possible to bear the presumption of those islanders, when they pretend to instruct me in the ceremonies of China! They lay it down as a maxim, that every person who comes from thence must express [Page 141] himself in metaphor; swear by Alla, rail against wine, and behave, and talk and write like a Turk or Persian. They make no distinction between our elegant manners, and the voluptuous barbarities of our eastern neigh­bours. Where-ever I come, I raise either diffidence or astonishment; some fancy me no Chinese, because I am formed more like a man than a monster; and others wonder to find one born five thousand miles from England endued with common sense. Strange, say they, that a man who has received his education at such a distance from London, should have common sense; to be born out of England and yet have com­mon sense! impossible! He must be some Englishman in disguise; his very visage has nothing of the true ex­otic barbarity.

I yesterday received an invitation from a lady of dis­tinction, who it seems had collected all her knowledge of eastern manners from fictions every day propagated here, under the titles of eastern tales, and oriental histo­ries: she received me very politely, but seemed to won­der that I neglected bringing opium and a tobacco-box; when chairs were drawn for the rest of the company, I was assigned my place on a cushion on the floor. It was in vain that I protested the Chinese used chairs as in Europe; she understood decorums too well to enter­tain me with the ordinary civilities.

I had scarce been seated according to her directions, when the footman was ordered to pin a napkin under my chin; this I protested against, as being no way Chinese; however, the whole company, who it seems were a club of connoisseurs, gave it unanimously against me, and the napkin was pinned accordingly.

[Page 142] It was impossible to be angry with people, who seem­ed to err only from an excess of politeness, and I sat contented, expecting their importunities were now at an end; but as soon as ever dinner was served, the lady demanded whether I was for a plate of Bears claws, or a slice of Birds nests? As these were dishes with which I was utterly unacquainted, I was desirous of eating only what I knew, and therefore begged to be helped from a piece of beef that lay on the side table: my request at once disconcerted the whole company. A Chinese eat beef! that could never be! there was no local propriety in Chinese beef, whatever there might be in Chinese pheasant. Sir, said my entertainer, I think I have some reasons to fancy myself a judge of these matters: in short, the Chinese never eat beef; so that I must be permitted to recommend the Pilaw, there was never better dressed at Pekin; the saffron and rice are well boiled, and the spices in perfection.

I had no sooner begun to eat what was laid before me, than I found the whole company as much astonish­ed as before; it seems I made no use of my chop-sticks. A grave gentleman, whom I take to be an author, ha­rangued very learnedly (as the company seemed to think) upon the use which was made of them in China: he entered into a long argument with himself about their first introduction, without once appealing to me, who might be supposed best capable of silencing the enquiry. As the gentleman therefore took my silence for a mark of his own superior sagacity, he was resolved to pursue the triumph: he talked of our cities, moun­tains, and animals, as familiarly as if he had been born in Quamsi, but as erroneously as if a native of the moon; he attempted to prove that I had nothing of the true [Page 143] Chinese cut in my visage; shewed that my cheek bones should have been higher, and my forehead broader; in short, he almost reasoned me out of my country, and effectually persuaded the rest of the company to be of his opinion.

I was going to expose his mistakes, when it was in­sisted that I had nothing of the true eastern manner in my delivery. This gentleman's conversation (says one of the ladies, who was a great reader) is like our own mere chit chat and common sense; there is nothing like sense in the true eastern style, where nothing more is required but sublimity. Oh for an history of Aboul­faouris, the grand voyager, of genii, magicians, rocks, bags of bullets, giants, and enchanters, where all is great obscure, magnificent, and unintelligible! I have written many a sheet of eastern tale myself, interrupts the author, and I defy the severest critic to say but that I have stuck close to the true manner. I have com­pared a lady's chin to the snow upon the mountains of Bomek; a soldier's sword, to the clouds that obscure the face of heaven. If riches are mentioned, I compare them to the flocks that graze the verdant Tefflis; if poverty, to the mists that veil the brow of mount Baku. I have used thee and thou upon all occasions, I have described fallen stars, and splitting mountains, not for­getting the little Houries who make a very pretty figure in every description. But you shall hear how I generally begin. "Eben-ben-bolo, who was the son of Ban, was born on the foggy summits of Bender­abassi. His beard was whiter than the feathers which veil the breast of the Penguin; his eyes were like the eyes of doves, when washed by the dews of the morn­ing; his hair, which hung like the willow weeping over [Page 144] the glassy stream, was so beautiful that it seemed to re­flect its own brightness; and his feet were as the feet of a wild deer which fleeth to the tops of the moun­tains." There, there is the true eastern taste for you; every advance made towards sense, is only a deviation from sound. Eastern tales should always be sonorous, lofty, musical and unmeaning.

I could not avoid smiling to hear a native of England attempt to instruct me in the true eastern idiom, and after he had looked round some time for applause, I presumed to ask him whether he had ever travelled into the east; to which he replied in the negative: I demanded whether he understood Chinese or Arabic, to which also he answered as before. Then how, Sir, said I, can you pretend to determine upon the eastern stile, who are intirely unacquainted with the eastern writings? Take, Sir, the word of one who is pro­fessedly a Chinese, and who is actually acquainted with the Arabian writers, that what is palm'd upon you daily for an imitation of eastern writing, no ways re­sembles their manner, either in sentiment or diction. In the east, similes are seldom used, and metaphors al­most wholly unknown; but in China particularly, the very reverse of what you allude to, takes place; a cool phlegmatic method of writing prevails there. The writers of that country, ever more assiduous to instruct than to please, address rather the judgment than the fancy. Unlike many authors of Europe, who have no consideration of the reader's time, they generally leave more to be understood than they express.

Besides, Sir, you must not expect from an inhabi­tant of China the same ignorance, the same unlettered [Page 145] simplicity, that you find in a Turk, Persian, or native of Peru. The Chinese are versed in the sciences as well as you, and are masters of several arts unknown to the people of Europe. Many of them are instructed not only in their own national learning, but are perfectly well acquainted with the languages and learning of the west. If my word in such a case, is not to be taken, consult your own travellers on this head, who affirm, that the scholars of Pekin and Siam sustain theological theses in Latin, The college of Masprend, which is but a league from Siam (says one of your travellers* )came in a body to salute our ambassador. Nothing gave me more sincere pleasure than to behold a number of priests venerable both from age and modesty, followed by a number of youths of all nations, Chinese, Japonese, Tonquinese, of Cochin China, Pegu and Siam, all will­ing to pay their respects in the most polite manner ima­ginable. A Cochin Chinese made an excellent Latin oration upon this occasion: he was succeeded, and even out-done, by a student of Tonquin, who was as well skilled in the western learning as any scholar of Paris. Now, Sir, if youths, who never stirred from home, are so perfectly skilled in your laws and learning, surely more must be expected from one like me, who have travelled so many thousand miles, who have conversed familiarly for several years with the English factors established at Canton, and the missionaries sent us from every part of Europe. The unaffected of every country nearly resemble each other, and a page of our Confucius and your Tillotson have scarce any material [Page 146] difference. Paltry affectation, strained allusions, and disgusting finery, are easily attained by those who chuse to wear them; they are but too frequently the badges of ignorance, or of stupidity whenever it would endea­vour to please.

I was proceeding in my discourse, when, looking round, I perceived the company no way attentive to what I attempted, with so much earnestness to enforce. One lady was whispering her that sat next, another was studying the merits of a fan, a third began to yawn, and the author himself fell fast asleep: I thought it, therefore, high time to make a retreat, nor did the company seem to shew any regret at my preparations for departure; even the lady who had invited me, with the most mortifying insensibility, saw me seize my hat and rise from my cushion; nor was I invited to repeat my visit, because it was found that I aimed at appearing rather a reasonable creature, than an outlandish ideot.


To the same.

THE polite arts are in this country subject to as many revolutions as its laws or politics; not only the objects of fancy and dress, but even of de­licacy and taste, are directed by the capricious influence of fashion. I am told there has been a time when poetry was universally encouraged by the great, when men of the first rank not only patronized the poet, but produced the finest models for his imitation; it was [Page 147] then that the English sent forth those glowing rhapso­dies, which we have so often read over together with rapture; poems big with all the sublimity of Mentius, and supported by reasoning as strong as that of Zimpo.

The nobility are ever fond of wisdom, but they also are fond of having it without study; to read poetry required thought, and the English nobility were not fond of thinking; they soon therefore placed their affections upon music, because in this they might in­dulge an happy vacancy, and yet still have pretensions to delicacy and taste as before. They soon brought their numerous dependents into an approbation of their pleasures; who in turn led their thousand imitators to feel or feign a similitude of passion. Colonies of singers were now imported from abroad at a vast expence, and it was expected the English would soon be able to set examples to Europe; all these expectations how­ever were soon dissipated; in spite of the zeal which fired the great, the ignorant vulgar refused to be taught to sing; and refused to undergo the ceremonies which were to initiate them in the singing fraternity; thus the colony from abroad dwindled by degrees; for they were of themselves unfortunately incapable of propagating the breed.

Music having thus lost its splendour, Painting is now become the sole object of fashionable care; the title of connoisseur in that art is at present the safest pass­port into every fashionable society; a well timed shrug, an admiring attitude, and one or two exotic tones of exclamation are sufficient qualifications for men of low circumstances to curry favour; even some of the [Page 148] young nobility are themselves early instructed in hand­ling the pencil, while their happy parents, big with expectation, foresee the walls of every apartment co­vered with the manufactures of their posterity.

But many of the English are not content with giv­ing all their time to this art at home; some young men of distinction are found to travel through Europe with no other intent than that of understanding, and collecting pictures, studying seals, and describing sta­tues; on they travel from this cabinet of curiosities to that gallery of pictures, waste the prime of life in wonder, skilful in pictures, ignorant in men; yet im­possible to be reclaimed, because their follies take shelter under the names of delicacy and taste.

It is true, Painting should have due encourage­ment; as the painter can undoubtedly fit up our apartments in a much more elegant manner than the upholsterer; but I should think a man of fashion makes but an indifferent exchange, who lays out all that time in furnishing his house which he should have employed in the furniture of his head; a person who shews no other symptoms of taste than his cabinet or gallery, might as well boast to me of the furniture of his kitchen.

I know no other motive but vanity that induces the great to testify such an inordinate passion for pic­tures; after the piece is bought, and gazed at eight or ten days successively, the purchaser's pleasure must surely be over; all the satisfaction he can then have, is to shew it to others; he may be considered as the guardian of a treasure of which he makes no manner of use; his gallery is furnished not for himself, but the [Page 149] connoisseur, who is generally some humble flatterer, ready to feign a rapture he does not feel; and as ne­cessary to the happiness of a picture-buyer, as gazers are to the magnificence of an Asiatic procession.

I have enclosed a letter from a youth of distinction, on his travels, to his father in England; in which he appears addicted to no vice, seems obedient to his governor, of a good natural disposition, and fond of improvement; but at the same time early taught to regard cabinets and galleries as the only proper schools of improvement, and to consider a skill in pictures as the properest knowledge for a man of quality.

My lord,

We have been but two days at Antwerp; where­fore I have sat down as soon as possible to give you some account of what we have seen since our arrival, desi­rous of letting no opportunity pass without writing to so good a father. Immediately upon alighting from our Rotterdam machine, my governor, who is immo­derately fond of paintings, and at the same time an excellent judge, would let no time pass till we paid our respects to the church of the virgin-mother, which contains treasure beyond estimation. We took an in­finity of pains in knowing its exact dimensions, and differed half a foot in our calculation; so I leave that to some succeeding information. I really believe my governor and I could have lived and died there. There is scarce a pillar in the whole church that is not adorned by a Reubens, a Vander Meuylen, a Van­dyke or a Woverman. What attitudes, carnation and draperies! I am almost induced to pity the English who have none of those exquisite pieces among them. [Page 150] As we were willing to let slip no opportunity of doing business, we immediately after went to wait on Mr. Hogendorp whom you have so frequently commended for his judicious collection. His cameos are indeed beyond price; his intaglio's not so good. He shewed us one of an officiating flamen, which he thought to be an antique; but my governor, who is not to be de­ceived in these particulars, soon found it to be an arrant cinque cento. I could not, however, sufficiently admire the genius of Mr. Hogendorp, who has been able to collect from all parts of the world, a thousand things which no body knows the use of. Except your lordship and my governor, I do not know any body I admire so much. He is indeed a surprizing genius. The next morning early, as we were resolved to take the whole day before us, we sent our compliments to Mr. Van Sporkcken, desiring to see his gallery, which request he very politely complied with. His gal­lery measures fifty feet by twenty, and is well filled; but what surprised me most of all, was to see an holy family just like your lordship's, which this ingenious gentleman assures me is the true original. I own this gave me in­expressible uneasiness, and I fear it will to your lordship, as I had flattered myself that the only original was in your lordship's possession; I would advise you, how­ever, to take yours down till its merit can be ascertain­ed, my governor assuring me, that he intends to write a long differtation to prove its originality. One might study in this city for ages, and still find something new: we went from this to view the cardinal's statues, which are really very fine; there were three spintria executed in a very masterly manner, all arm in arm: the torse which I heard you talk so much of, is at last discovered to be a Hercules spinning, and not a Cleo­patra [Page 151] bathing, as your lordship had conjectured: there has been a treatise written to prove it.

My lord Firmly is certainly a Goth, a Vandal, no taste in the world for painting. I wonder how any call him a man of taste; passing through the streets of Antwerp a few days ago, and observing the naked­ness of the inhabitants, he was so barbarous as to ob­serve, that he thought the best method the Flemings could take was to sell their pictures, and buy cloaths: Ah, Coglione! We shall go to-morrow to Carwarden's cabinet, and the next day we shall see the curiosities collected by Van Ran. and the day after we shall pay a visit to Mount Calvary, and after that—but I find my paper finished; so with the most sincere wishes to your lordship's happiness, and with hopes after having seen Italy, that centre of pleasure, to return home worthy the care and expence which has been gene­rously laid out in my improvement.

I remain, my Lord,
Yours, &c.

From Hingpo, a slave in Persia, to Altangi, a travel­ling philosopher of China, by the way of Moscow.

FORTUNE has made me the slave of another, but nature and inclination render me entirely sub­servient to you; a tyrant commands my body, but you are master of my heart. And yet let not thy inflexible nature condemn me when I confess that I find my soul [Page 150] [...] [Page 151] [...] [Page 152] shrink with my circumstances. I feel my mind not less than my body, bend beneath the rigours of servi­tude; the master whom I serve grows every day more formidable. In spite of reason which should teach me to despise him, his hideous image fills even my dreams with horror.

A few days ago a christian slave, who wrought in the gardens, happening to enter an arbour where the tyrant was entertaining the ladies of his Haram with coffee, the unhappy captive was instantly stabbed to the heart for his intrusion. I have been preferred to his place, which though less laborious than my former station, is yet more ungrateful, as it brings me nearer him whose presence excites sensations at once of disgust and apprehension.

Into what a state of misery are the modern Persians fallen! A nation once famous for setting the world an example of freedom, is now become a land of tyrants, and a den of slaves. The houseless Tartar of Kam­katsha, who enjoys his herbs and his fish in unmolested freedom, may be envied, if compared to the thousands who pine here in hopeless servitude, and curse the day that gave them being. Is this just dealing, heaven! to render millions wretched to swell up the happiness of a few; cannot the powerful of this earth be happy without our sighs and tears; must every luxury of the great be woven from the calamities of the poor! It must, it must surely be, that this jarring discordant life is but the prelude to some future harmony; the souls attuned to virtue here, shall go from hence to fill up the universal choir where Tien presides in per­son; where there shall be no tyrants to frown, no [Page 153] shackles to bind, nor no whips to threaten; where I shall once more meet my father with rapture, and give a loose to filial piety; where I shall hang on his neck, and hear the wisdom of his lips, and thank him for all the happiness to which he has introduced me.

The wretch whom fortune has made my master, has lately purchased several slaves of both sexes; among the rest I hear a christian captive talked of with admi­ration. The eunuch who bought her, and who is accustomed to survey beauty with indifference, speaks of her with emotion! Her pride, however, astonishes her attendant slaves not less than her beauty; it is re­ported that she refuses the warmest solicitations of her haughty lord; he has even offered to make her one of his four wives upon changing her religion, and con­forming to his. It is probable she cannot refuse such extraordinary offers, and her delay is perhaps intended to enhance her favours.

I have just now seen her, she inadvertently approach­ed the place without a veil, where I sat waiting. She seemed to regard the heavens alone with fixed atten­tion; there her most ardent gaze was directed. Genius of the sun! what unexpected softness! what animated grace! her beauty seemed the transparent covering of virtue. Celestial beings could not wear a look of more perfection, while sorrow humanized her form, and mixed my admiration with pity. I rose from the bank on which I sat, and she retired; happy that none observed us, for such an interview might have been fatal.

[Page 154] I have regarded, till now, the opulence and the power of my tyrant, without envy; I saw him with a mind incapable of enjoying the gifts of fortune, and consequently regarded him as one loaded, rather than enriched with its favours. But at present, when I think that so much beauty is reserved only for him, that so many charms shall be lavished on a wretch in­capable of feeling the greatness of the blessing, I own I feel a reluctance to which I have hitherto been a stranger.

But let not my father impute these uneasy sensations to so trifling a cause as love. No, never let it be thought that your son, and the pupil of the wise Fum Hoam could stoop to so degrading a passion. I am only displeased at seeing so much excellence so unjustly disposed of.

The uneasiness which I feel is not for myself, but for the beautiful christian. When I reflect on the bar­barity of him for whom she is designed, I pity, indeed I pity her. When I think that she must only share one heart, who deserves to command a thousand, ex­cuse me, if I feel an emotion, which universal bene­volence extorts from me. As I am convinced, that you take a pleasure in those sallies of humanity, and are particularly pleased with compassion, I could not avoid discovering the sensibility with which I felt this beautiful stranger's distress. I have for a while forgot in hers, the miseries of my own hopeless situation. Our tyrant grows every day more severe, and love which softens all other minds into tenderness, seems only to have encreased his severity.


From the same.

THE whole Haram is filled with a tumultuous joy; Zelis, the beautiful captive, has consented to embrace the religion of Mahomet, and become one of the wives of the fastidious Persian. It is impossible to describe the transport that sits on every face on this occasion. Music and feasting fill every apartment, the most miserable slave seems to forget his chains, and sympathizes with the happiness of Mostadad. The herb we tread beneath our feet is not made more for our use, than every slave around him for their impe­rious master; mere machines of obedience they wait with silent assiduity, feel his pains, and rejoice in his exultation. Heavens! how much is requisite to make one man happy!

Twelve of the most beautiful slaves, and I among the number, have got orders to prepare for carrying him in triumph to the bridal apartment. The blaze of perfumed torches are to imitate the day; the dancers and singers are hired at a vast expense. The nuptials are to be celebrated on the approaching feast of Bar­boura, when an hundred taels in gold are to be distri­buted among the barren wives, in order to pray for fertility from the approaching union.

What will not riches procure! an hundred domes­tics, who curse the tyrant in their souls, are commanded to wear a face of joy, and they are joyful. An hun­dred flatterers are ordered to attend, and they fill his ears with praise. Beauty, all commanding beauty, sues [Page 156] for admittance, and scarcely receives an answer; even love itself seems to wait upon fortune, or though the passion be only feigned, yet it wears every appearance of sincerity; and what greater pleasure can even true sincerity confer, or what would the rich have more?

Nothing can exceed the intended magnificence of the bridegroom, but the costly dresses of the bride, six eunuchs in the most sumptuous habits are to conduct him to the nuptial couch, and wait his orders. Six ladies, in all the magnificence of Persia, are directed to undress the bride. Their business is to assist, to encou­rage her, to divest her of every encumbering part of her dress, all but the last covering, which, by an artful complication of ribbons, is purposely made difficult to unloose, and with which she is to part reluctantly even to the joyful possessor of her beauty.

Mostadad, O my father, is no philosopher; and yet he seems perfectly contented with his ignorance. Pos­sessed of numberless slaves, camels, and women, he desires no greater possession. He never opened the page of Mentius, and yet all the slaves tell me that he is happy.

Forgive the weakness of my nature, if I sometimes feel my heart rebellious to the dictates of wisdom, and eager for happiness like his. Yet why wish for his wealth with his ignorance; to be like him, incapable of sentimental pleasures, incapable of feeling the hap­piness of making others happy, incapable of teaching the beautiful Zelis philosophy.

What, shall I in a transport of passion give up the [Page 157] golden mean, the universal harmony, the unchanging essence, for the possession of an hundred camels, as many slaves, thirty-five beautiful horses, and seventy­three fine women: first blast me to the centre! De­grade me beneath the most degraded! Pare my nails, ye powers of heaven! ere I would stoop to such an exchange. What, part with philosophy, which teaches me to suppress my passions instead of gratifying them, which teaches me even to divest my soul of passion, which teaches serenity in the midst of tortures; philo­sophy, by which even now I am so very serene, and so very much at ease, to be persuaded to part with it for any other enjoyment! Never, never, even though per­suasion spoke in the accents of Zelis!

A female slave informs me that the bride is to be arrayed in a tissue of silver, and her hair adorned with the largest pearls of Ormus; but why teize you with particulars, in which we both are so little concerned; the pain I feel in separation throws a gloom over my mind, which in this scene of universal joy I fear may be attributed to some other cause; how wretched are those who are like me, denied even the last resource of misery, their tears.


From the same.

I Begin to have doubts whether wisdom be alone suf­ficient to make us happy. Whether every step we make in refinement is not an inlet into new disquie­tudes. A mind too vigorous and active, serves only to [Page 158] consume the body to which it is joined, as the richest jewels are soonest found to wear their settings.

When we rise in knowledge as the prospect widens, the objects of our regard become more obscure, and the unlettered peasant, whose views are only directed to the narrow sphere around him, beholds nature with a finer relish, and tastes her blessings with a keener appetite than the philosopher, whose mind attempts to grasp an universal system.

As I was some days ago pursuing this subject among a circle of my fellow slaves, an ancient Guebre of the number, equally remarkable for his piety and wisdom, seemed touched with my conversation, and desired to il­lustrate what I had been saying with an allegory taken from the Zendavesta of Zoroaster; by this we shall be taught, says he, that they who travel in pursuit of wis­dom, walk only in a circle; and after all their labour, at last return to their pristine ignorance; and in this also we shall see that enthusiastic confidence, or unsa­tisfying doubts terminate all our enquiries.

In early times, before myriads of nations covered the earth, the whole human race lived together in one val­ley. The simple inhabitants, surrounded on every side by lofty mountains, knew no other world but the little spot to which they were confined. They fancied the heavens bent down to meet the mountain tops, and formed an impenetrable wall to surround them. None had ever yet ventured to climb the steepy cliff, in or­der to explore those regions that lay beyond it; they knew the nature of the skies only from a tradition, which mentioned their being made of adamant; tradi­tions make up the reasonings of the simple, and serve to silence every enquiry.

[Page 159] In this sequestered vale, bless'd with all the sponta­neous productions of nature, the honey'd blossom, the refreshing breeze, the gliding brook, and golden fruitage, the simple inhabitants seemed happy in themselves, in each other; they desired no greater pleasures, for they knew of none greater; ambition, pride and envy, were vices unknown among them; and from this peculiar simplicity of its possessors, the country was called the valley of ignorance.

At length, however, an unhappy youth more aspir­ring than the rest undertook to climb the mountain's side, and examine the summits which were hitherto deemed inaccessible. The inhabitants from below, gazed with wonder at his intrepidity, some applauded his courage, others censured his folly, still however he proceeded towards the place where the earth and hea­vens seemed to unite, and at length arrived at the wish'd for height with extreme labour and assiduity.

His first surprize was to find the skies, not as he ex­pected within his reach, but still as far off as before; his amazement encreased when he saw a wide extended region lying on the opposite side of the mountain, but it rose to astonishment when he beheld a country at a distance, more beautiful and alluring than even that he had just left behind.

As he continued to gaze with wonder, a genius, with a look of infinite modesty, approaching, offered to be his guide and instructor. The distant country which you so much admire, says the Angelic being, is called the Land of Certainty, in that charming retreat, senti­ment contributes to refine every sensual banquet; the inhabitants are blessed with every solid enjoyment, and [Page 160] still more blessed in a perfect consciousness of their own felicity: ignorance in that country is wholly unknown, all there is satisfaction without allay, for every plea­sure first undergoes the examination of reason. As for me I am called the genius of Demonstration, and am stationed here in order to conduct every adventurer to that land of happiness thro' those intervening regions you see over-hung with fogs and darkness, and horrid with forests, cataracts, caverns, and various other shapes of danger. But follow me, and in time I may lead you to that distant desirable land of tranquillity.

The intrepid traveller immediately put himself under the direction of the genius, and both journeying on to­gether with a slow but agreeable pace, deceived the tediousness of the way by conversation. The begin­ning of the journey seemed to promise true satisfaction, but as they proceeded forward, the skies became more gloomy and the way more intricate, they often inad­vertently approached the brow of some frightful pre­cipice, or the brink of a torrent, and were obliged to measure back their former way; the gloom encreasing as they proceeded, their pace became more slow; they paused at every step, frequently stumbled, and their distrust and timidity encreased. The genius of Demon­stration, now, therefore advised his pupil to grope upon hands and feet, as a method though more slow, yet less liable to error.

In this manner they attempted to pursue their jour­ney for some time, when they were overtaken by ano­ther genius, who, with a precipitate pace seem'd tra­velling the same way. He was instantly known by the other to be the genius of Probability. He wore two [Page 161] wide extended wings at his back, which incessantly waved, without increasing the rapidity of his motion; his countenance betrayed a confidence that the igno­rant might mistake for sincerity, and he had but one eye, which was fixed in the middle of his forehead.

Servant of Hormizda, cried he, approaching the mortal pilgrim, if thou art travelling to the Land of Certainty, how is it possible to arrive there under the guidance of a genius, who proceeds forward so slowly, and is so little acquainted with the way; follow me, we shall soon perform the journey to where every plea­sure awaits our arrival.

The peremptory tone in which this genius spoke, and the speed with which he moved forward, induced the traveller to change his conductor, and leaving his modest companion behind, he proceeded forward with his more confident director, seeming not a little pleased at the encreased velocity of his motion.

But soon he found reasons to repent. Whenever a torrent crossed their way, his guide taught him to de­spise the obstacle by plunging him in; whenever a pre­cipice presented, he was directed to fling himself for­ward. Thus each moment miraculously escaping; his repeated escapes only served to encrease his guide's temerity. He led him therefore forward, amidst infi­nite difficulties, till they arrived at the borders of an ocean which appeared unnavigable from the black mists that lay upon its surface. It's unquiet waves were of the darkest hue, and gave a lively representation of the various agitations of the human mind.

[Page 162] The genius of Probability now confessed his teme­rity, own'd his being an improper guide to the Land of Certainty, a country where no mortal had ever been permitted to arrive; but at the same time offered to supply the traveller with another conductor, who should carry him to the Land of Confidence, a region where the inhabitants lived with the utmost tranquil­lity, and tasted almost as much satisfaction as if in the Land of Certainty. Not waiting for a reply, he stamp'd three times on the ground, and called forth the Daemon of Error, a gloomy fiend of the servants of Arimanes. The yawning earth gave up the reluctant savage, who seemed unable to bear the light of the day. His stature was enormous, his colour black and hideous, his aspect betrayed a thousand varying passi­ons, and he spread forth pinions that were fitted for the most rapid flight. The traveller at first was shock­ed at the spectre; but finding him obedient to supe­rior power, he assumed his former tranquillity.

I have called you to duty, cries the genius to the daemon, to bear on your back a son of mortality over the Ocean of Doubts into the Land of Confidence: I ex­pect you'll perform your commission with punctuality. And as for you, continued the genius, addressing the traveller, when once I have bound this fillet round your eyes, let no voice of persuasion, nor threats the most terrifying, persuade you to unbind it in order to look round; keep the fillet fast, look not at the ocean below, and you may certainly expect to arrive at a re­gion of pleasure.

Thus saying, and the traveller's eyes being covered, the daemon muttering curses, raised him on his back, [Page 163] and instantly up-borne by his strong pinions, directed his flight among the clouds. Neither the loudest thun­der, nor the most angry tempest, could persuade the traveller to unbind his eyes. The daemon directed his flight downwards, and skimmed the surface of the ocean; a thousand voices, some with loud invective, others in the sarcastic tones of contempt, vainly endea­voured to persuade him to look round; but he still continued to keep his eyes covered, and would in all probability have arrived at the happy land, had not flattery effected what other means could not perform. For now he heard himself welcomed on every side to the promised land, and an universal shout of joy was sent forth at his safe arrival; the wearied traveller, de­sirous of seeing the long wished-for country, at length pulled the fillet from his eyes, and ventured to look round him. But he had unloosed the band too soon; he was not yet above half way over. The daemon, who was still hovering in the air, and had produced those sounds only in order to deceive, was now freed from his commission; wherefore throwing the asto­nished traveller from his back, the unhappy youth fell headlong into the subjacent Ocean of Doubts, from whence he never after was seen to rise.

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first president of the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China.

WHEN Parmenio, the Grecian, had done something which excited an universal shout [Page 164] from the surrounding multitude, he was instantly struck with the doubt, that what had their approba­tion must certainly be wrong; and turning to a philo­sopher who stood near him, Pray sir, says he, pardon me; I fear I have been guilty of some absurdity.

You know that I am not less than him a despiser of the multitude; you know that I equally detest flattery to the great; yet so many circumstances have concur­red to give a lustre to the latter part of the present Eng­lish monarch's reign, that I cannot withhold my con­tribution of praise; I cannot avoid the acknowledging the crowd for once just, in their unanimous approba­tion.

Yet think not that battles gained, dominion ex­tended, or enemies brought to submission, are the vir­tues which at present claim my admiration. Were the reigning monarch only famous for his victories, I should regard his character with indifference; the boast of heroism in this enlightened age is justly re­garded as a qualification of a very subordinate rank, and mankind now begin to look with becoming horror on these foes to man; the virtue in this aged monarch which I have at present in view, is one of a much more exalted nature, is one of the most difficult of at­tainment, is the least praised of all kingly virtues, and yet deserves the greatest praise; the virtue I mean is JUSTICE; a strict administration of justice, without severity and without favour.

Of all virtues this is the most difficult to be practised by a king who has a power to pardon. All men, even [Page 165] tyrants themselves, lean to mercy when unbiassed by passions or interest, the heart naturally persuades to forgiveness, and pursuing the dictates of this pleasing deceiver, we are led to prefer our private satisfaction to public utility; what a thorough love for the public, what a strong command over the passions, what a fine­ly conducted judgment must he possess who opposes the dictates of reason to those of his heart, and prefers the future interest of his people to his own immediate satisfaction.

If still to a man's own natural biass for tenderness, we add the numerous solicitations made by a criminal's friends for mercy; if we survey a king not only oppo­sing his own feelings, but reluctantly refusing those he regards, and this to satisfy the public, whose cries he may never hear, whose gratitude he may never receive, this surely is true greatness! Let us fancy ourselves for a moment in this just old man's place, surrounded by numbers, all soliciting the same favour, a favour that nature disposes us to grant, where the inducements to pity are laid before us in the strongest light, suppliants at our feet, some ready to resent a refusal, none oppo­sing a compliance; let us, I say, suppose ourselves in such a situation, and I fancy we should find ourselves more apt to act the character of good natured men than of upright magistrates.

What contributes to raise justice above all other kingly virtues is, that it is seldom attended with a due share of applause, and those who practise it must be in­fluenced by greater motives than empty fame; the people are generally well pleased with a remission of punishment, and all that wears the appearance of hu­manity; [Page 166] it is the wise alone who are capable of dis­cerning that impartial justice is the truest mercy: they know it to be difficult very difficult, at once to compas­sionate, and yet condemn an object that pleads for ten­derness.

I have been led into this common-place train of thought by a late striking instance in this country of the impartiality of justice, and of the king's inflexible reso­lution of inflicting punishment where it was justly due. A man of the first quality in a fit either of passion, me­lancholy, or madness, murdered his servant; it was ex­pected that his station in life would have lessened the ignominy of his punishment; however, he was arraign­ed, condemned, and underwent the same degrading death with the meanest malefactor. It was well con­sidered that virtue alone is true nobility; and that he whose actions sink him even beneath the vulgar, has no right to those distinctions which should be the re­wards only of merit; it was perhaps considered that crimes were more heinous among the higher classes of people, as necessity exposes them to fewer temptations.

Over all the east, even China not excepted, a per­son of the same quality guilty of such a crime, might, by giving up a share of his fortune to the judge, buy off his sentence; there are several countries even in Europe, where the servant is entirely the property of his master; if a slave kills his lord, he dies by the most excruciating tortures; but if the circumstances are re­versed, a small fine buys off the punishment of the of­fender. Happy the country where all are equal, and where those who sit as judges have too much integrity to receive a bribe, and too much honour to pity from a [Page 167] similitude of the prisoner's title or circumstances with their own. Such is England; yet think not that it was always equally famed for this strict impartiality. There was a time even here when titles softned the ri­gours of the law, when dignified wretches were suffer­ed to live, and continue for years an equal disgrace to justice and nobility.

To this day in a neighbouring country, the great are often most scandalously pardoned for the most scan­dalous offences. A person is still alive among them who has more than once deserved the most ignomini­ous severity of justice. His being of the blood royal, however, was thought a sufficient atonement for his being a disgrace to humanity. This remarkable per­sonage took pleasure in shooting at the passengers be­low, from the top of his palace; and in this most princely amusement he usually spent some time every day. He was at length arraigned by the friends of a person whom in this manner he had killed, was found guilty of the charge, and condemned to die. His merciful monarch pardoned him in consideration of his rank and quality. The unrepenting criminal soon af­ter renewed his usual entertainment, and in the same manner killed another man. He was a second time condemned; and strange to think, a second time re­ceived his majesty's pardon! Would you believe it? A third time the very same man was guilty of the very same offence; a third time therefore the laws of his country found him guilty—I wish for the honour of humanity I could suppress the rest!—A third time he was pardoned! Will you not think such a story too extraordinary for belief, will you not think me describ­ng the savage inhabitants of Congo; alas, the story is [Page 168] but too true, and the country where it was transacted, regards itself as the politest in Europe!


From Lien Cbi Altangi to ***, Merchant in Amster­dam.

CEremonies are different in every country, but true politeness is every where the same. Ceremonies, which take up so much of our attention, are only arti­ficial helps which ignorance assumes, in order to imi­tate politeness, which is the result of good sense and good-nature. A person possessed of those qualities, though he had never seen a court, is truly agreeable; and if without them, would continue a clown, though he had been all his life a gentleman usher.

How would a Chinese, bred up in the formalities of an eastern court, be regarded, should he carry all his good manners beyond the Great Wall? How would an Englishman, skilled in all the decorums of western good breeding, appear at an eastern entertainment? Would he not be reckoned more fantastically savage than even his unbred footman!

Ceremony resembles that base coin which circulates through a country by the royal mandate; it serves eve­ry purpose of real money at home, but is entirely use­less if carried abroad; a person who should attempt to circulate his native trash in another country, would be thought either ridiculous or culpable. He is truly well [Page 169] bred who knows when to value and when to despise those national peculiarities which are regarded by some with so much observance, a traveller of taste at once perceives that the wise are polite all the world over; but that fools are polite only at home.

I have now before me two very fashionable letters upon the same subject, both written by ladies of dis­tinction; one of whom leads the fashion in England, and the other sets the ceremonies of China: they are both regarded in their respective countries by all the beau-monde, as standards of taste, and models of true politeness, and both give us a true idea of what they imagine elegant in their admirers; which of them un­derstands true politeness, or whether either, you shall be at liberty to determine: the English lady writes thus to her female confidant.

AS I live, my dear Charlotte, I believe the colo­nel will carry it at last; he is a most irresistable fellow, that's flat. So well dress'd, so neat, so spright­ly, and plays about one so agreeably, that I vow, he has as much spirits as the marquis of Monkeyman's Ita­lian greyhound. I first saw him at Renelagh; he shines there; he's nothing without Renelagh, and Renelagh nothing without him. The next day he sent a card, and compliments, desiring to wait on mamma and me to the music subscription. He looked all the time with such irresistable impudence, that possitively he had something in his face gave me as much pleasure as a pair-royal of naturals in my own hand. He waited on mamma and me the next morning to know how we got home: you must know the insidious devil makes love to us both. Rap went the footman at the door; [Page 170] bounce went my heart; I thought he would have rattled the house down. Chariot drove up to the window, with his footmen in the prettiest liveries: he has infinite taste, that's flat. Mamma had spent all the morning at her head; but for my part, I was in an undress to receive him; quite easy, mind that; no way disturbed at his approach: mamma pretended to be as degagée as I, and yet I saw her blush in spite of her. Positively he is a most killing devil! We did no­thing but laugh all the time he staid with us; I never heard so many very good things before: at first he mis­took mamma for my sister; at which she laughed: then he mistook my natural complection for paint; at which I laugh'd: and then he shewed us a picture in the lid of his snuff-box, at which we all laughed. He plays picquet so very ill, and is so very fond of cards, and loses with such a grace, that positively he has won me; I have got a cool hundred, but have lost my heart. I need not tell you that he is only a colonel of the train-bands.

I am, dear Charlotte,
Yours for ever, BELINDA.

The Chinese lady addresses her confidant, a poor relation of the family, upon the same occasion; in which she seems to understand decorums even better than the western beauty. You who have resided so long in China will readily acknowledge the picture to be taken from nature; and, by being acquainted with the Chinese customs, will better apprehend the lady's meaning.


PAPA insists upon one, two, three, four hun­dred taels from the colonel my lover, before he parts with a lock of my hair. Ho, how I wish the dear creature may be able to produce the money, and pay papa my fortune. The colonel is reckoned the po­litest man in all Shensi. The first visit he paid at our house; mercy, what stooping, and cringing, and stop­ping, and fidgeting, and going back, and creeping forward, there was between him and papa, one would have thought he had got the seventeen books of ceremonies all by heart. When he was come into the hall he flou­rished his hands three times in a very graceful manner. Papa, who would not be out-done, flourished his four times; upon this the colonel began again, and both thus continued flourishing for some minutes in the po­litest manner imaginable. I was posted in the usual place behind the screen, where I saw the whole cere­mony through a slit. Of this the colonel was sensible, for papa informed him. I would have given the world to have shewn him my little shoes, but had no oppor­tunity. It was the first time I had ever the happiness, of seeing any man but papa, and I vow my dear Yaya, I thought my three souls would actually have fled from my lips. Ho, but he looked most charmingly, he is reckoned the best shaped man in the whole pro­vince, for he is very fat, and very short; but even those natural advantages are improved by his dress, which is fashionable past description. His head was close shaven, all but the crown, and the hair of that was braided into a most beautiful tail, that reaching down to his heels, was terminated by a bunch of yel­low [Page 172] roses. Upon his first entering the room, I could easily perceive he had been highly perfumed with assafoetida. But then his looks, his looks, my dear Yaya, were irresistible. He kept his eyes stedfastly fixed on the wall during the whole ceremony, and I sincerely believe no accident could have discomposed his gravity, or drawn his eyes away. After a polite silence of two hours, he gallantly begged to have the singing women introduced, purely for my amusement. After one of them had for some time entertained us with her voice, the colonel and she retired for some minutes together. I thought they would never have come back; I must own he is a most agreeable crea­ture. Upon his return, they again renewed the con­cert, and he continued to gaze upon the wall as usual, when, in less than half an hour more! Ho, but he retired out of the room with another. He is indeed a most agreeable creature.

When he came to take his leave, the whole cere­mony began afresh; papa would see him to the door, but the colonel swore he would rather see the earth turned upside down than permit him to stir a single step, and papa was at last obliged to comply. As soon as he was got to the door, papa went out to see him on horseback; here they continued half an hour bowing and cringing, before one would mount or the other go in, but the colonel was at last victorious. He had scarce gone an hundred paces from the house when papa running out halloo'd after him, A good journey. Upon which the colonel returned, and would see papa into his house before ever he would depart. He was no sooner got home than he sent me a very fine present of duck eggs painted of twenty different colours. His [Page 173] generosity I own has won me. I have ever since been trying over the eight letters of good fortune, and have great hopes. All I have to apprehend is that after he has married me, and that I am carried to his house close shut up in my chair, when he comes to have the first sight of my face, he may shut me up a second time and send me back to papa. However I shall appear as fine as possible; Mamma, and I have been to buy the cloaths for my wedding. I am to have a new song whang in my hair, the beak of which will reach down to my nose; the milliner from whom we bought that and our ribbons cheated us as if she had no conscience, and so to quiet mine, I cheated her. All this is fair you know. I remain, my dear Yaya,

Your ever faithful, YAOUA.

From the same.

YOU have always testified the highest esteem for the English poets, and thought them not inferior to the Greeks, Romans, or even the Chinese in the art. But it is now thought even by the English them­selves that the race of their poets is extinct, every day produces some pathetic exclamation upon the deca­dence of taste and genius. Pegasus, say they, has slipped the bridle from his mouth, and our modern bards attempt to direct his flight by catching him by the tail.

[Page 174] Yet, my friend, it is only among the ignorant that such discourses prevail, men of true discernment can see several poets still among the English, some of whom equal if not surpass their predecessors. The ignorant term that alone poetry which is couched in a certain number of syllables in every line, where a vapid thought is drawn out into a number of verses of equal length, and perhaps pointed with rhymes at the end. But glowing sentiment, striking imagery, concise expression, natural description, and modulated periods are full sufficient entirely to fill up my idea of this art, and make way to every passion.

If my idea of poetry therefore be just, the English are not at present so destitute of poetical merit as they seem to imagine. I can see several poets in disguise among them; men furnished with that strength of soul, sublimity of sentiment, and grandeur of expression, which constitutes the character. Many of the writers of their modern odes, sonnets, tragedies or rebusses, it is true, deserve not the name, though they have done nothing but clink rhymes and measure syllables for years together: their Johnsons and Smollets are truly poets; though for aught I know they never made a single verse in their whole lives.

In every incipient language the poet and the prose writer are very distinct in their qualifications; the poet ever proceeds first, treading unbeaten paths, en­riching his native funds, and employed in new adven­tures. The other follows with more cautious steps, and though slow in his motions, treasures up every useful or pleasing discovery. But when once all the extent and force of the language is known, the poet [Page 175] then seems to rest from his labour, and is at length overtaken by his assiduous pursuer. Both characters are then blended into one, the historian and orator catch all the poet's fire, and leave him no real mark of dis­tinction except the iteration of numbers regularly returning. Thus in the decline of ancient European learning, Seneca, though he wrote in prose, is as much a poet as Lucan, and Longinus, though but a critic, more sublime than Apollonius.

From this then it appears that poetry is not discon­tinued, but altered among the English at present; the outward form seems different from what it was, but poetry still continues internally the same; the only question remains whether the metric feet used by the good writers of the last age, or the prosaic numbers employed by the good writers of this, be preferable. And here the practice of the last age appears to me superior; they submitted to the restraint of numbers and similar sounds; and this restraint, instead of dimi­nishing, augmented the force of their sentiment and stile. Fancy restrained may be compared to a fountain which plays highest by diminishing the aperture. Of the truth of this maxim in every language, every fine writer is perfectly sensible from his own experience, and yet to explain the reason would be perhaps as difficult as to make a frigid genius profit by the dis­covery.

There is still another reason in favour of the practice of the last age, to be drawn from the variety of modu­lation. The musical period in prose is confined to a very few changes, the numbers in verse are capable of infinite variation. I speak not now from the prac­tice [Page 176] of modern verse writers, few of whom have any idea of musical variety, but run on in the same mo­notonous flow through the whole poem; but rather from the example of their former poets, who were to­lerable masters of this variety, and also from a capacity in the language of still admitting various unanticipated music.

Several rules have been drawn up for varying the poetic measure, and critics have elaborately talked of accents and syllables, but good sense and a fine ear which rules can never teach, are what alone can in such a case determine. The rapturous flowings of joy, or the interruptions of indignation, require accents placed entirely different, and a structure consonant to the emo­tions they would express. Changing passions, and numbers changing with those passions make the whole secret of western as well as eastern poetry. In a word, the great faults of the modern professed English poets are, that they seem to want numbers which should vary with the passion, and are more employed in de­scribing to the imagination than striking at the heart.


To the same.

SOME time since I sent thee, oh holy disciple of Confucius, an account of the grand abbey or mausoleum of the kings and heroes of this nation. I have since been introduced to a temple not so antient, but far superior in beauty and magnificence. In this, [Page 177] which is the most considerable of the empire, there are no pompous inscriptions, no flattery paid the dead, but all is elegant and awfully simple. There are however a few rags hung round the walls, which have at a vast expence been taken from the enemy in the present war. The silk of which they are composed when new, might be valued at half a string of copper money in China; yet this wise people fitted out a fleet and an army in order to seize them; though now grown old, and scarce capable of being patched up into a handkerchief. By this conquest the English are said to have gained, and the French to have lost much honour. Is the honour of European nations placed only in tattered silk?

In this temple I was permitted to remain during the whole service; and were you not already acquainted with the religion of the English, you might, from my description, be inclined to believe them as grosly ido­latrous as the disciples of Lao. The idol which they seem to address, strikes like a colossus over the door of the inner temple, which here, as with the Jews, is esteemed the most sacred part of the building. Its oracles are delivered in an hundred various tones, which seem to inspire the worshippers with enthusiasm and awe: an old woman who appeared to be the priestess, was employed in various attitudes, as she felt the inspiration. When it began to speak, all the peo­ple remained fixed in silent attention, nodding assent, looking approbation, appearing highly edified by those sounds, which to a stranger might seem inarticulate and unmeaning.

[Page 178] When the idol had done speaking, and the priestess had locked up its lungs with a key, observing almost all the company leaving the temple, I concluded the service was over, and taking my hat, was going to walk away with the crowd, when I was stopt by the man in black, who assured me that the ceremony had scarcely yet begun! What, cried I, do I not see almost the whole body of the worshippers leaving the church? Would you persuade me that such numbers who pro­fess religion and morality, would in this shameless manner quit the temple before the service was con­cluded? you surely mistake; not even the Kalmouks would be guilty of such an indecency, though all the object of their worship was but a joint stool. My friend seemed to blush for his countrymen, assuring me that those whom I saw running away, were only a par­cel of musical blockheads, whose passion was merely for sounds, and whose heads were as empty as a fiddle case; those who remain behind, says he, are the true Religious; they make use of music to warm their hearts, and to lift them to a proper pitch of rapture; examine their behaviour, and you will confess there are some among us who practise true devotion.

I now looked round me as he directed, but saw no­thing of that fervent devotion, which he had promised; one of the worshippers appeared to be ogling the com­pany through a glass; another was fervent not in ad­dresses to heaven, but to his mistress; a third whis­pered, a fourth took snuff, and the priest himself, in a drowsy tone, read over the duties of the day.

Bless my eyes, cried I, as I happened to look to­wards the door, what do I see; one of the worship­pers [Page 179] fallen fast asleep, and actually sunk down on his cushon: is he now enjoying the benefit of a trance, or does he receive the influence of some mysterious vision! Alas, alas, replied my companion, no such thing; he has only had the misfortune of eating too hearty a dinner, and finds it impossible to keep his eyes open. Turning to another part of the temple, I per­ceived a young lady just in the same circumstances and attitude; strange, cried I, can she too have over­eaten herself? O fie, replied my friend, you now grow censorious. She grow drowsy from eating too much; that would be profanation! She only sleeps now from having sat up all night at a brag party. Turn me where I will then, says I, I can perceive no single symptom of devotion among the worshippers, except from that old woman in the corner, who sits groaning behind the long sticks of a mourning fan; she indeed seems greatly edified with what she hears. Aye replied my friend, I knew we should find some to catch you; I know her; that is the deaf lady who lives in the cloysters.

In short, the remissness of behaviour in almost all the worshippers, and some even of the guardians, struck me with surprize; I had been taught to be­lieve that none were ever promoted to offices in the temple, but men remarkable for their superior sanctity, learning, and rectitude; that there was no such thing heard of as persons being introduced into the church merely to oblige a senator, or provide for the younger branch of a noble family: I expected, as their minds were continually set upon heavenly things, to see their eyes directed there also, and hoped from their beha­viour to perceive their inclinations corresponding with [Page 180] their duty. But I am since informed, that some are appointed to preside over temples they never visit; and, while they receive all the money, are contented with letting others do all the good.


From Fum Hoam, to Lien Chi Altangi, the discontented wanderer, by the way of Moscow.

MUST I ever continue to condemn thy perse­verence, and blame that curiosity, which de­stroys thy happiness! What yet untasted banquet, what luxury yet unknown, has rewarded thy painful adventures! Name a pleasure which thy native country could not amply procure; frame a wish that might not have been satisfied in China! Why then such toil, and such danger, in pursuit of raptures within your reach at home.

The Europeans, you will say, excel us in sciences and in arts; those sciences which bound the aspiring wish, and those arts which tend to gratify even unre­strained desire. They may perhaps outdo us in the arts of building ships, casting cannons or measuring mountains, but are they superior in the greatest of all arts, the art of governing kingdoms and ourselves?

When I compare the history of China with that of Europe, how do I exult in being a native of that king­dom which derives its original from the sun. Upon opening the Chinese history, I there behold an antient [Page 181] extended empire, established by laws which nature and reason seem to have dictated. The duty of children to their parents, a duty which nature implants in every breast, forms the strength of that government which has subsisted for time immemorial. Filial obedience is the first and greatest requisite of a state; by this we be­come good subjects to our emperors, capable of be­having with just subordination to our superiors, and grateful dependants on heaven; by this we become fonder of marriage, in order to be capable of exacting obedience from others in our turn: by this we become good magistrates; for early submission is the truest lesson to those who would learn to rule. By this the whole state may be said to resemble one family, of which the Emperor is the protector, father, and friend.

In this happy region, sequestered from the rest of mankind, I see a succession of princes who in general considered themselves as the fathers of their people; a race of philosophers who bravely combated idolatry, prejudice, and tyranny, at the expence of their private happiness and immediate reputation. Whenever an usurper or a tyrant intruded into the administration, how have all the good and great been united against him? Can European history produce an instance like that of the twelve mandarines, who all resolved to ap­prize the vicious emperor Tisiang of the irregularity of his conduct. He who first undertook the dange­rous task was cut in two by the emperor's order [...] ▪ the second was ordered to be tormented, and then put to a cruel death; the third undertook the task with intrepidity, and was instantly stabbed by the tyrant's [Page 182] hand: in this manner they all suffered except one. But net to be turned from his purpose, the brave sur­vivor entering the palace with the instruments of tor­ture in his hand. Here, cried he, addressing himself to the throne, here, O Tisiang, are the marks your faithful subjects receive for their loyalty; I am wearied with serving a tyrant, and now come for my reward. The emperor, struck with his intrepidity, instantly forgave the boldness of his conduct, and reformed his own. What European annals can boast! of a tyrant thus reclaimed to lenity.

When five brethren had set upon the great emperor Ginsong alone; with his sabre he slew four of them; he was struggling with the fifth, when his guards coming up were going to cut the conspirator into a thousand pieces. No, no, cried the emperor, with a calm and placid countenance, of all his brothers he is the only one remaining, at least let one of the family be suffered to live, that his aged parents may have some body left to feed and comfort them.

When Haitong, the last emperor of the house of Ming, saw himself besieged in his own city by the usurper, he was resolved to issue from his palace with six hundred of his guards, and give the enemy battle; but they forsook him. Being thus without hopes, and chusing death rather than to fall alive into the hands of a rebel, he retired to his garden, conducting his little daughter, an only child in his hand. There, in a private arbour unsheathing his sword, he stabbed the young innocent to the heart, and then dispatching himself, left the following words written with his blood on the border of his vest. Forsaken by my subjects, [Page 183] abandoned by my friends, use my body as you will, but spare, O spare my people.

An empire which has thus continued invariably the same for such a long succession of ages, which though at last, conquered by the Tartars, still preserves its antient laws and learning; and may more properly be said to annex the dominions of Tartary to its empire, than to admit a foreign conqueror; an empire as large as Europe, governed by one law, acknowledging sub­jection to one prince, and experiencing but one revo­lution of any continuance in the space of four thousand years; this is something so peculiarly great, that I am naturally led to despise all other nations on the compa­rison. Here we see no religious persecutions, no en­mity between mankind, for difference in opinion. The disciples of Lao Kium, the idolatrous sectaries of Fohi, and the philosophical children of Confucius, only strive to shew by their actions the truth of their doctrines.

Now turn from this happy peaceful scene to Europe the theatre of intrigue, avarice and ambition. How many revolutions does it not experience in the compass even of one age; and to what do these re­volutions tend but the destruction of thousands. Every great event is replete with some new calamity. The seasons of serenity are passed over in silence, their histories seem to speak only of the storm.

There we see the Romans extending their power over barbarous nations, and in turn becoming a prey to those whom they had conquered. We see those barbarians, when become christians, engaged in con­tinual wars with the followers of Mahomet; or more [Page 184] dreadful still, destroying each other. We see councils in the earlier ages authorizing every iniquity; crusades spreading desolation in the country le [...]t, as well as that to be conquered. Excommunications freeing subjects from natural allegiance, and persuading to sedition; blood flowing in the fields and on scaffolds; tortures used as arguments to convince the recusant; to heigh­ten the horror of the piece, behold it shaded with wars, rebellions, treasons, plots, politicks, and poison!

And what advantage has any country of Europe obtained from such calamities? Scarce any. Their dissentions for more than a thousand years have served to make each other unhappy, but have enriched none. All the great nations still nearly preserve their antient limits; none have been able to subdue the other, and so terminate the dispute. France, in spite of the conquests of Edward the third, and Henry the fifth, notwithstanding the efforts of Charles the fifth and Philip the second, still remains within its antient limits. Spain, Germany, Great Britain, Poland, the states of the north, are nearly still the same. What effect then has the blood of so many thousands, the destruction of so many cities, produced? Nothing neither great or considerable. The christian princes have lost indeed much from the enemies of christendom, but they have gained nothing from each other. Their princes, be­cause they preferred ambition to justice, deserve the character of enemies to mankind; and their priests by neglecting morality for opinion, have mistaken the in­terests of society.

On whatever side we regard the history of Europe, we shall perceive it to be a tissue of crimes, follies and [Page 185] misfortunes, of politics without design, and wars with­out consequence; in this long list of human infirmity, a great character or a shining virtue may sometimes happen to arise, as we often meet a cottage or a culti­vated spot, in the most hideous wilderness. But for an Alfred, an Alphonso, a Frederic, or one Alexander III. we meet a thousand princes who have disgraced humanity.

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first president of the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China.

WE have just received accounts here, that Vol­taire the poet and philosopher of Europe is dead! He is now beyond the reach of the thousand enemies, who while living, degraded his writings, and branded his character. Scarce a page of his latter pro­ductions that does not betray the agonies of an heart bleeding under the scourge of unmerited reproach. Happy therefore at last in escaping from calumny, happy in leaving a world that was unworthy of him and his writings.

Let others, my friend, bestrew the hearses of the great with panegyric; but such a loss as the world has now suffered affects me with stronger emotions. When a philosopher dies, I consider myself as losing a patron, an instructor, and a friend. I consider the world as losing one who might serve to console her amidst the desolations of war and ambition. Nature every day produces in abundance men capable of fill­ing [Page 186] all the requisite duties of authority; but she is nigard in the birth of an exalted mind, scarcely pro­ducing in a century a single genius to bless and en­lighten a degenerate age. Prodigal in the production of king's, governors, mandarines, chams, and courtiers, she seems to have forgotten for more than three thou­sand years, the manner in which she once formed the brain of a Confucius; and well it is she has forgotten, when a bad world gave him so very bad a recep­tion.

Whence, my friend, this malevolence which has ever pursued the great even to the tomb; whence this more than fiend-like disposition of embittering the lives of those who would make us more wise and more happy?

When I cast my eye over the fates of several philo­sophers, who have at different periods enlightened mankind, I must confess, it inspires me with the most degrading reflections on humanity. When I read of the stripes of Mentius, the tortures of Tchin, the bowl of Socrates, and the bath of Seneca; when I hear of the persecutions of Dante, the imprisonment of Galileo, the indignities suffered by Montagne, the banishment of Cartesius, the infamy of Bacon; and that even Locke himself escaped not without reproach; when I think on such subjects, I hesitate whether most to blame, the ignorance or the villany of my fellow creatures.

Should you look for the character of Voltaire among the journalists and illiterate writers of the age; you will there find him characterized as a monster, with a [Page 187] head turned to wisdom, and an heart inclining to vice; the powers of his mind and the baseness of his princi­ples forming a detestable contrast. But seek for his character among writers like himself, and you find him very differently described. You perceive him in their accounts possessed of good nature, humanity, greatness of soul, fortitude, and almost every virtue; in this de­scription those who might be suppos'd best acquainted with his character are unanimous. The royal Prus­sian*, D'argens, Diderot, D'alambert, and Fonte­nelle conspire in drawing the picture, in describing the friend of man and the patron of every rising genius.

An inflexible perseverance in what he thought was right, and a generous detestation of flattery, formed the ground-work of this great man's character. From these principles many strong virtues and few faults a­rose; as he was warm in his friendship, and severe in resentment, all that mention him seem possessed of the same qualities, and speak of him with rapture or detes­tation. A person of his eminence can have few indif­ferent as to his character; every reader must be an enemy or an admirer.

This poet began the course of glory so early as the age of eighteen, and even then was author of a trage­dy which deserves applause; possessed of a small pa­trimony he preserved his independance, in an age of venality, and supported the dignity of learning, by teaching his cotemporary writers to live like him, above the favours of the great. He was banished his native country for a satire upon the royal concubine. He had [Page 188] accepted the place of historian to the French king, but refused to keep it, when he found it was presented only in order that he should be the first flatterer of the state.

The great Prussian received him as an ornament to his kingdom, and had sense enough to value his friend­ship, and profit by his instructions. In this court he continued till an intrigue, with which the world seems hitherto unacquainted, obliged him to quit that coun­try. His own happiness, the happiness of the mon­arch, of his sister, of a part of the court, rendered his departure necessary.

Tired at length of courts, and all the follies of the great, he retired to Switzerland, a country of liberty, where he enjoyed tranquillity and the muse. Here, though without any taste for magnificence himself, he usually entertained at his table the learned and polite of Europe, who were attracted by a desire of seeing a person from whom they had received so much satis­faction. The entertainment was conducted with the utmost elegance, and the conversation was that of phi­losophers. Every country that at once united liberty and science, were his peculiar favourites. The being an Englishman was to him a character that claimed ad­miration and respect.

Between Voltaire and the disciples of Confucius, there are many differences; however, being of a dif­ferent opinion does not in the least diminish my esteem; I am not displeased with my brother, because he hap­pens to ask our father for favours in a different man­ner from me. Let his errors rest in peace, his excel­lencies [Page 189] deserve admiration; let me with the wise admire his wisdom; let the envious and the ignorant ridicule his foibles; the folly of others is ever most ridiculous to those who are themselves most foolish.


From Lien Chi Altangi to Hingpo, a slave in Persia.

IT is impossible to form a philosophic system of happiness which is adapted to every condition in life, since every person who travels in this great pur­suit takes a separate road. The differing colours which suit different complections, are not more various than the different pleasures appropriated to particular minds. The various sects who have pretended to give lessons to instruct men in happiness, have described their own particular sensations without considering ours, have only loaded their disciples with constraint, without add­ing to their real felicity.

If I find pleasure in dancing, how ridiculous would it be in me to prescribe such an amusement for the en­tertainment of a cripple; should he, on the other hand, place his chief delight in painting, yet would he be absurd in recommending the same relish to one, who had lost the power of distinguishing colours. General directions are therefore commonly useless; and to be particular would exhaust volumes, since each indivi­dual may require a peculiar system of precepts to direct his choice.

[Page 190] Every mind seems capable of entertaining a certain, quantity of happiness, which no institutions can en­crease, no circumstances alter, and entirely indepen­dent on fortune. Let any man compare his present fortune with the past, and he will probably find him­self, upon the whole, neither better nor worse than formerly.

Gratified ambition, or irreparable calamity may produce transient sensations of pleasure or distress. Those storms may discompose in proportion as they are strong, or the mind is pliant to their impression. But the soul, though at first lifted up by the event, is every day ope­rated upon with diminish'd influence; and at length subsides into the level of its usual tranquillity. Should some unexpected turn of fortune take thee from fet­ters, and place thee on a throne, exultation would be natural upon the change; but the temper, like the face, would soon resume its native serenity.

Every wish therefore which leads us to expect hap­piness somewhere else but where we are, every insti­tution which teaches us that we should be better, by being possessed of something new, which promises to lift us a step higher than we are, only lays a founda­tion for uneasiness, because it contracts debts which it cannot repay; it calls that a good, which when we have found it, will in fact add nothing to our happi­ness.

To enjoy the present, without regret for the past, or solicitude for the future, has been the advice rather of poets than philosophers. And yet the precept seems more rational than is generally imagined. It is the only [Page 191] general precept respecting the pursuit of happiness, that can be applied with propriety to every condition of life. The man of pleasure, the man of business, and the philosopher are equally interested in its disqui­sition. If we do not find happiness in the present mo­ment, in what shall we find it? Either in reflecting on the past, or prognosticating the future. But let us see how these are capable of producing satisfaction.

A remembrance of what is past, and an anticipation of what is to come, seem to be the two faculties by which man differs most from other animals. Though brutes enjoy them in a limited degree, yet their whole life seems taken up in the present, regardless of the past and the future. Man, on the contrary, endeavours to derive his happiness, and experiences most of his mise­ries from these two sources.

Is this superiority of reflection a prerogative of which we should boast, and for which we shall thank nature; or is it a misfortune of which we should complain and be humble. Either from the abuse, or from the nature of things, it certainly makes our condition more mise­rable.

Had we a privilege of calling up, by the power of memory, only such passages as were pleasing, unmixed with such as were disagreeable, we might then excite at pleasure an ideal happiness, perhaps more poignant than actual sensation. But this is not the case; the past is never represented without some disagreeable circumstance, which tarnishes all its beauty; the re­membrance of an evil carries in it nothing agreeable, and to remember a good is always accompanied with [Page 192] regret. Thus we lose more than we gain by remem­brance.

And we shall find our expectation of the future to be a gift more distressful even than the former. To fear an approaching evil is certainly a most disagreeable sen­sation; and in expecting an approaching good, we ex­perience the inquietude of wanting actual possession.

Thus, whichever way we look, the prospect is dis­agreeable. Behind, we have left pleasures we shall ne­ver more enjoy, and therefore regret; and before, we see pleasures which we languish to possess, and are con­sequently uneasy till we possess them. Was there any method of seizing the present, unimbittered by such reflections, then would our state be tolerably easy.

This, indeed, is the endeavour of all mankind, who untutored by philosophy, pursue as much as they can a life of amusement and dissipation. Every rank in life, and every size of understanding, seems to follow this alone; or not pursuing it, deviates from happiness. The man of pleasure pursues dissipation by profession; the man of business pursues it not less, as every volun­tary labour he undergoes is only dissipation in disguise. The philosopher himself, even while he reasons upon the subject, does it unknowingly with a view of dissi­pating the thoughts of what he was, or what he must be.

The subject therefore comes to this. Which is the most perfect sort of dissipation: pleasure, business, or philosophy; which best serves to exclude those un­easy [Page 193] sensations, which memory or anticipation pro­duce.

The enthusiasm of pleasure charms only by intervals. The highest rapture lasts only for a moment, and all the senses seem so combined, as to be soon tired into languor by the gratification of any one of them. It is only among the poets we hear of men changing to one delight, when satiated with another. In nature, it is very different: the glutton, when sated with the full meal, is unqualified to feel the real pleasure of drink­ing; the drunkard in turn finds few of those transports which lovers boast in enjoyment; and the lover, when cloyed, finds a diminution of every other appetite. Thus, after a full indulgence of any one sense, the man of pleasure finds a languor in all, is placed in a chasin between past and expected enjoyment, perceives an in­terval which must be filled up. The present can give no satisfaction, because he has already robbed it of eve­ry charm; a mind thus left without immediate em­ployment, naturally recurs to the past or the future: the reflector finds that he was happy, and knows that he cannot be so now; he sees that he may yet be hap­py, and wishes the hour was come: thus every period of his continuance is miserable, except that very short one of immediate gratification. Instead of a life of dis­sipation, none has more frequent conversations with disagreeable self than he: his enthusiasms are but few and transient; his appetites, like angry creditors, con­tinually making fruitless demands for what he is unable to pay; and the greater his former pleasure, the more strong his regret, the more impatient his expectations; a life of pleasure is therefore the most unpleasing life in the world.

[Page 194] Habit has rendered the man of business more cool in his desires, he finds less regret for past pleasures, and less solicitude for those to come. The life he now leads, tho' tainted in some measure with hope, is yet not afflicted so strongly with regret, and is less divided between short-lived rapture and lasting anguish. The pleasures he has enjoyed are not so vivid, and those he has to expect cannot consequently create so much anxiety.

The philosopher, who extends his regard to all mankind, must have still a smaller concern for what has already affected, or may hereafter affect himself; the concerns of others make his whole study, and that study is his pleasure; and this pleasure is continuing in its nature because it can be changed at will, leaving but few of these anxious intervals which are employed in remembrance or anticipation. The philosopher by this means leads a life of almost continued dissipation; and reflection, which makes the uneasiness and misery of others, serves as a companion and instructor to him.

In a word, positive happiness is constitutional, and in­capable of increase; misery is artificial, and generally proceeds from our folly. Philosophy can add to our happiness in no other manner, but by diminishing our misery: it should not pretend to encrease our present stock, but make us oeconomists of what we are possessed of. The great source of calamity lies in regret or anti­cipation: he, therefore, is most wise who thinks of the present alone, regardless of the past or the future. This is impossible to the man of pleasure; it is difficult to the man of business; and is in some measure at­tainable by the philosopher. Happy were we all born [Page 195] philosophers, all born with a talent of thus dissipating our own cares, by spreading them upon all mankind!

From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first president of the Ceremonial Academy, at Pekin, in China.

THO' the frequent invitations I receive from men of distinction here might excite the vanity of some, I am quite mortified however when I consider the motives that inspire their civility. I am sent for not to be treated as a friend, but to satisfy curiosity; not to be entertained so much as wondered at; the fame earnestness which excites them to see a Chinese, would have made them equally proud of a visit from the rhinoceros.

From the highest to the lowest, this people seem fond of sights and monsters. I am told of a person here who gets a very comfortable livelihood by making wonders, and then selling or shewing them to the peo­ple for money, no matter how insignificant they were in the beginning; by locking them up close, and shew­ing for money, they soon became prodigies! His first essay in this way was to exhibit himself as a wax-work figure behind a glass door at a puppet show. Thus keeping the spectators at a proper distance, and having his head adorned with a copper crown, he looked ex­treamly natural, and very like the life itself. He con­tinued this exhibition with success, till an involuntary fit of sneezing brought him to life before all the specta­tors, and consequently rendered him for that time as [Page 196] entirely useless, as the peaceable inhabitant of a cata­comb.

Determined to act the statue no more, he next le­vied contributions under the figure of an Indian king; and by painting his face, and counterfeiting the savage howl, he frighted several ladies and children with ama­zing success: in this manner therefore he might have lived very comfortably, had he not been arrested for a debt that was contracted when he was the figure in wax-work: thus his face underwent an involuntary ablution, and he found himself reduced to his primitive complexion and indigence.

After some time, being freed from gaol, he was now grown wiser, and instead of making himself a wonder, was resolved only to make wonders. He learned the art of pasting up mummies; was never at a loss for an artificial lusus naturae; nay, it has been reported, that he has sold seven petrified lobsters of his own manu­facture to a noted collector of rarities; but this the learned Cracovius Putridus has undertaken to refute in a very elaborate dissertation.

His last wonder was nothing more than an halter, yet by this halter he gained more than by all his former exhibitions. The people, it seems, had got it in their heads, that a certain noble criminal was to be hanged with a silken rope. Now there was nothing they so much desired to see as this very rope; and he was re­solved to gratify their curiosity: he therefore got one made, not only of silk, but to render it the more stri­king, several threads of gold were intermixed. The people paid their money only to see silk, but were [Page 197] highly satisfied when they found it was mixed with gold into the bargain. It is scarce necessary to men­tion, that the projector sold his silken-rope for almost what it had cost him, as soon as the criminal was known to be hanged in hempen materials.

By their fondness of sights, one would be apt to ima­gine, that instead of desiring to see things as they should be, they are rather solicitous of seeing them as they ought not to be. A cat with four legs is disregarded, though never so useful; but if it has but two, and is consequently incapable of catching mice, it is reckoned inestimable, and every man of taste is ready to raise the auction. A man, though in his person faultless as an aerial genius, might starve; but if stuck over with hi­deous warts like a porcupine, his fortune is made for ever, and he may propagate the breed with impunity and applause.

A good woman in my neighbourhood, who was bred an habit-maker, though she handled her needle tolerably well, could scarcely get employment. But being obliged by an accident to have both her hands cut off from the elbows, what would in another coun­try have been her ruin, made her fortune here, she now was thought more fit for her trade than before; busi­ness flowed in apace, and all people paid for seeing the mantua-maker who wrought without hands.

A gentleman shewing me his collection of pictures, stopped at one with peculiar admiration; there, cries he, is an inestimable piece. I gazed at the picture for some time, but could see none of those graces with which he seemed enraptured; it appeared to me the [Page 198] most paltry piece of the whole collection: I therefore demanded where those beauties lay, of which I was yet insensible. Sir, cries he, the merit does not con­sist in the piece, but in the manner in which it was done. The painter drew the whole with his foot, and held the pencil between his toes: I bought it at a very great price; for peculiar merit should ever be re­warded.

But these people are not more sond of wonders than liberal in rewarding those who shew them. From the wonderful dog of knowledge at present under the pa­tronage of the nobility, down to the man with the box, who professes to shew the most imitation of na­ture that was ever seen; they all live in luxury. A singing woman shall collect subscriptions in her own coach and fix; a fellow shall make a fortune by tossing a straw from his toe to his nose; one in particular has found that eating fire was the most ready way to live; and another who gingles several bells fixed to his cap, is the only man that I know of who has received emo­lument from the labours of his head.

A young author, a man of good nature and learning was complaining to me some nights ago of this mis­placed generosity of the times. Here, says he, have I spent part of my youth in attempting to instruct and amuse my fellow creatures, and all my reward has been solitude, poverty, and reproach; while a fellow, possessed of even the smallest share of fiddling merit, or who has perhaps learned to whistle double, is rewarded, applauded, and caressed! Prythee, young man, says I to him, are you ignorant, that in so large a city as this, it is better to be an amusing than an useful mem­ber [Page 199] of society? Can you leap up, and touch your feet four times before you come to the ground? No Sir. Can you pimp for a man of quality? No, Sir. Can you stand upon two horses at full speed? No Sir. Can you swallow a pen-knife? I can do none of these tricks. Why then, cried I, there is no other prudent means of subsistence left but to apprize the town that you speedily intend to eat up your own nose, by sub­scription.

I have frequently regretted that none of our eastern posture masters or show men have ever ventured to England. I should be pleased to see that money circu­late in Asia, which is now sent to Italy and France, in order to bring their vagabonds hither. Several of our tricks would undoubtedly give the English high satisfaction. Men of fashion would be greatly pleased with the postures as well as the condescention of our dancing girls; and ladies would equally admire the conductors of our fire-works. What an agreeable sur­prize would it be to see a huge fellow with whiskers flash a charged blunderbuss full in a lady's face, with­out singing her hair, or melting her pomatum. Per­haps when the first surprize was over, she might then grow familiar with danger; and the ladies might vie with each other in standing fire with intrepidity.

But of all the wonders of the east, the most useful, and I should fancy, the most pleasing, would be the looking-glass of Lao, which reflects the mind as well as the body. It is said that the emperor Chusi used to make his concubines dress their heads and their hearts in one of these glasses every morning; while the lady was at her toilet, he would frequently look over her [Page 200] shoulder; and it is recorded that among the three hundred which composed his seraglio, not one was found whose mind was not even more beautiful than her person.

I make no doubt but a glass in this country would have the very same effect. The English ladies, concu­bines and all, would undoubtedly cut very pretty fi­gures in so faithful a monitor. There, should we hap­pen to peep over a lady's shoulder while dressing, we might be able to see neither gaming nor ill nature; nei­ther pride, debauchery, nor a love of gadding. We should find her, if any sensible defect appeared in the mind, more careful in rectifying it, than plaistering up the irreparable decays of the person; nay, I am even apt to fancy, that ladies would find more real pleasure in this utensil in private, than in any other bauble im­ported from China, though never so expensive, or amusing.

To the same.

UPON finishing my last letter I retired to rest, reflecting upon the wonders of the glass of Lao, wishing to be possessed of one here, and resolved in such a case to oblige every lady with a sight of it for nothing. What fortune denied me waking, fancy sup­plied in a dream; the glass, I know not how, was put into my possession, and I could perceive several ladies approaching, some voluntarily, others driven forward [Page 201] against their wills by a set of discontented genii, whom by intuition I knew were their husbands.

The apartment in which I was to show away was filled with several gaming tables, as if just forsaken; the candles were burnt to the socket, and the hour was five o'clock in the morning. Placed at one end of the room, which was of prodigious length, I could more easily distinguish every female figure as she marched up from the door; but guess my surprize, when I could scarce perceive one blooming or agreeable face among the number. This, however, I attributed to the early hour, and kindly considered that the face of a lady just risen from bed ought always to find a compassionate advocate.

The first person who came up in order to view her intellectual face was a commoner's wife, who, as I af­terwards found, being bred during her virginity in a pawn-broker's shop, now attempted to make up the defects of breeding and sentiment by the magnificence of her dress, and the expensiveness of her amusements. Mr. Showman, cried she, approaching, I am told you has something to shew in that there sort of magic lan­thorn, by which folks can see themselves on the inside; I protest, as my lord Beetle says, I am sure it will be vastly pretty, for I have never seen any thing like it be­fore. But how; are we to strip off our cloaths and be turned inside out? if so, as lord Beetle says, I absolutely declare off; for I would not strip for the world be­fore a man's face, and so I tells his lordship almost eve­ry night of my life." I informed the lady that I would dispense with the ceremony of stripping, and immedi­ately presented my glass to her view.

[Page 202] As when a first-rate beauty, after having with dif­ficulty escaped the small pox, revisits her favourite mirror, that mirror which had repeated the flattery of every lover, and even added force to the compliment; expecting to see what had so often given her pleasure, she no longer beholds the cherried lip, the polished forehead, and speaking blush, but an hateful phyz, quilted into a thousand seams by the hand of deformi­ty; grief, resentment, and rage fill her bosom by turns; she blames the fates and the stars, but most of all the unhappy glass feels her resentment. So it was with the lady in question; she had never seen her own mind before, and was now shocked at its deformity. One single look was sufficient to satisfy her curiosity; I held up the glass to her face, and she shut her eyes; no en­treaties could prevail upon her to gaze once more! she was even going to snatch it from my hands, and break it in a thousand pieces. I found it was time therefore to dismiss her as incorrigible, and shew away to the next that offered.

This was an unmarried lady, who continued in a state of virginity till thirty six, and then admitted a lover when she despaired of an husband. No woman was louder at a revel than she, perfectly free-hearted, and almost in every respect a man; she understood ri­dicule to perfection, and was once known even to sally out in order to beat the watch. "Here, you my dear with the outlandish face, (said she addressing me) let me take a single peep. Not that I care three dams what figure I may cut in the glass of such an old fashioned creature; if I am allowed the beauties of the face by people of fashion, I know the world will be complai­sant enough to toss me the beauties of the mind into [Page 203] the bargain." I held my glass before her as she desired, and must confess, was shocked with the reflection. The lady, however, gazed for some time with the utmost complacency; and at last turning to me with the most satisfied smile said, she never could think she had been half so handsome.

Upon her dismission a lady of distinction was reluc­tantly hawled along to the glass by her husband; in bringing her forward, as he came first to the glass him­self, his mind appeared tinctured with immoderate jea­lousy, and I was going to reproach him for using her with such severity; but when the lady came to present herself, I immediately retracted; for alas it was seen that he had but too much reason for his suspicions.

The next was a lady who usually teized all her ac­quaintance in desiring to be told of her faults, and then never mended any. Upon approaching the glass, I could readily perceive vanity, affectation, and some other ill-looking blots on her mind; wherefore by my advice she immediately set about mending. But I could easily find she was not earnest in the work: for as she repaired them on one side, they generally broke out on another. Thus, after three or four attempts, she be­gan to make the ordinary use of the glass in settling her hair.

The company now made room for a woman of learning, who approached with a slow pace and a so­lemn countenance, which, for her own sake, I could wish had been cleaner. "Sir, cried the lady, flourish­ing her hand, which held a pinch of snuff, I shall be enraptured by having presented to my view a mind with [Page 204] which I have so long studied to be acquainted: but, in order to give the sex a proper example, I must insist, that all the company be permitted to look over my shoulder." I bowed assent, and presenting the glass, shewed the lady a mind by no means so fair as she had expected to see. Ill-nature, ill placed pride, and spleen, were too legible to be mistaken. Nothing could be more amusing than the mirth of her female compa­nions who had looked over. They had hated her from the beginning, and now the apartment ecchoed with an universal laugh. Nothing but a fortitude like her's could have withstood their raillery: she stood it however; and when the burst was exhausted, with great tranquillity she assured the company, that the whole was a deceptio visus, and that she was too well acquainted with her own mind to believe any false re­presentations from another. Thus saying, she retired with a fullen satisfaction, resolved not to mend her faults, but to write a criticism on the mental reflector.

I must own, by this time I began myself to suspect the fidelity of my mirror; for as the ladies appeared at least to have the merit of rising early, since they were up at five, I was amazed to find nothing of this good quality pictured upon their minds in the reflec­tion; I was resolved therefore to communicate my suspicions to a lady, whose intellectual countenance ap­peared more fair than any of the rest, not having a­bove seventy-nine spots in all, besides slips and foibles. "I own, young woman, said I, that there are some virtues upon that mind of your's; but there is still one which I do not see represented; I mean that of ri­sing betimes in the morning; I fancy the glass false in that particular." The young lady smiled at my simpli­city; [Page 205] and, with a blush, confessed, that she and the whole company had been up all night gaming.

By this time all the ladies, except one, had seen them­selves successively, and disliked the show, or scolded the show-man; I was resolved, however, that she who seemed to neglect herself, and was neglected by the rest, should take a view; and going up to a corner of the room, where she still continued sitting, I presented my glass full in her face. Here it was that I exulted in my success; no blot, no stain, appeared on any part of the faithful mirror. As when the large, unwritten page presents its snowy spotless bosom to the writer's hand; so appeared the glass to my view. Here, O ye daughters of English ancestors, cried I, turn hither and behold an object worthy imitation: look upon the mir­ror now, and acknowledge its justice, and this woman's pre-eminence! The ladies obeying the summons, came up in a groupe and, looking on, acknowledged there was some truth in the picture, as the person now re­presented had been deaf, dumb, and a fool from her cradle.

Thus much of my dream I distinctly remember, the rest was filled with chimaeras, enchanted castles, and flying dragons as usual. As you, my dear Fum Hoam, are particularly versed in the interpretation of those midnight warnings, what pleasure should I find in your explanation: but that our distance prevents; I make no doubt, however, but that from my description you will very much venerate the good qualities of the Eng­lish ladies in general, since dreams, you know, go al­ways by contraries.


From Lien Chi Altangi to Hingpo, a slave in Persia*.

YOUR last letters betray a mind seemingly fond of wisdom, yet tempested by a thousand va­rious passions. You would fondly persuade me that my former lessons still influence your conduct, and yet your mind seems not less enslaved than your body. Knowledge, wisdom, erudition, arts and elegance what are they, but the mere trappings of the mind, if they do not serve to encrease the happiness of the possessor? A mind rightly instituted in the school of philosophy, acquires at once the stability of the oak, and the flexi­bility of the osier. The truest manner of lessening our agonies, is to shrink from their pressure; is to confess that we feel them.

The fortitude of European sages is but a dream; for where lies the merit in being insensible to the strokes of fortune, or in dissembling our sensibility; if we are insensible, that arises only from an happy constitution; that is a blessing previously granted by heaven, and which no art can procure, no institutions improve.

If we dissemble our feelings, we only artificially en­deavour to persuade others that we enjoy privileges which we actually do not possess. Thus while we en­deavour to appear happy, we feel at once all the pangs [Page 207] of internal misery, and all the self-reproaching consci­ousness of endeavouring to deceive.

I know but of two sects of philosophers in the world that have endeavoured to inculcate that fortitude is but an imaginary virtue; I mean the followers of Con­fucius, and those who profess the doctrines of Christ. All other sects teach pride under misfortunes; they alone teach humility. Night, says our Chinese philo­sopher, not more surely follows day, than groans and tears grow out of pain; when misfortunes, therefore, oppress, when tyrants threaten, it is our interest, it is our duty, to fly even to dissipation forsupport, to seek redress from friendship, to seek redress from that best of friends who loved us into being.

Philosophers, my son, have long declaimed against the passions, as being the source of all our mise­ries; they are the source of all our misfortunes I own; but they are the source of our pleasures too: and every endeavour of our lives, and all the instituti­ons of philosophy, should tend to this, not to dissem­ble an absence of passion, but to repel those which lead to vice, by those which direct to virtue.

The soul may be compared to a field of battle, where two armies are ready every moment to encounter; not a single vice but has a more powerful opponent; and not one virtue but may be over-borne by a combina­tion of vices. Reason guides the bands of either host, nor can it subdue one passion but by the assistance of another. Thus, as a bark on every side beset with storms, enjoys a state of rest, so does the mind, when influenced by a just equipoise of the passions, enjoy tranquillity.

[Page 208] I have used such means as my little fortune would admit to procure your freedom. I have lately written to the governor of Argun to pay your ransom, though at the expence of all the wealth I brought with me from China. If we become poor we shall at least have the pleasure of bearing poverty together; for what is fa­tigue or famine, when weighed against friendship and freedom.


From Lien Chi Altangi to ***** merchant in Amsterdam.

HAPPENING some days ago to call at a pain­ter's to amuse my self in examining some pictures (I had no design to buy) it surprised me to see a young Prince in the working room, dressed in a painter's apron, and assiduously learning the trade. We instantly re­membered to have seen each other; and, after the usual compliments, I stood by while he continued to paint on. As every thing done by the rich is praised, as princes here, as well as in China, are never without followers, three or four persons, who had the appear­ance of gentlemen, were placed behind to comfort and applaud him at every stroke.

Need I tell, that it struck me with very disagree­able sensations to see a youth who, by his station in life, had it in his power to be useful to thousands, thus let­ting his mind run to waste upon canvas, at the same time fancying himself improving in taste, and filling his rank with proper decorum.

[Page 209] As seeing an error, and attempting to redress it, are only one and the same with me, I took occasion, upon his lordship's desiring my opinion of a Chinese scroll, intended for the frame of a picture, to assure him, that a mandarine of China thought a minute acquaintance with such mechanical trifles below his dignity.

This reply raised the indignation of some, and the contempt of others: I could hear the names of Vandal, Goth, taste, polite arts, delicacy, and fire, repeated in tones of ridicule or resentment. But considering that it was vain to argue against people who had so much to say, without contradicting them, I begged leave to repeat a fairy tale. This request redoubled their laughter; but not easily abashed at the rallery of boys, I persisted, observing that it would set the absur­dity of placing our affections upon trifles, in the strongest point of view, and adding that it was hoped the moral would compensate for its stupidity. For heaven's sake, cried the great man, washing his brush in water, let us have no morality at present; if we must have a story let it be without any moral. I pre­tended not to hear; and while he handled the brush, proceeded as follows.

IN the Kingdom of Bonbobbin, which, by the Chi­nese annal, appears to have flourished twenty thousand years ago, there reigned a prince, endowed with every accomplishment which generally distin­guishes the sons of kings. His beauty was brighter than the sun. The sun, to which he was nearly re­lated, would sometimes stop his course in order to look down and admire him.

[Page 210] His mind was not less perfect than his body: he knew all things without having ever read; philosophers, poets, and historians, submitted their works to his de­cision; and so penetrating was he, that he could tell the merit of a book by looking on the cover. He made epic poems, tragedies, and pastorals, with surprising facility; song, epigram, or rebus, was all one to him, tho' it is observed, he could never finish an acrostic. In short, the fairy, who presided at his birth, had endow­ed him with almost every perfection, or what was just the same, his subjects were ready to acknowledge he possessed them all; and, for his own part, he knew nothing to the contrary. A prince so accomplished, received a name suitable to his merit; and he was called Bonbenin bonbobbin bonbobbinet, which signifies Enlightener of the Sun.

As he was very powerful, and yet unmarried, all the neighbouring kings earnestly sought his alliance. Each sent his daughter, dressed out in the most mag­nificent manner, and with the most sumptuous retinue imaginable, in order to allure the prince: so that at one time there were seen at his court not less than se­ven hundred foreign princesses of exquisite sentiment and beauty, each alone sufficient to make seven hun­dred ordinary men happy.

Distracted in such a variety, the generous Bonben­nin, had he not been obliged by the laws of the empire to make choice of one, would very willingly have mar­ried them all, for none understood gallantry better. He spent numberless hours of solicitude in endeavour­ing to determine whom he should chuse; one lady was possessed of every perfection, but he disliked her eye­brows; [Page 211] another was brighter than the morning star, but he disapproved her fong whang; a third did not lay white enough on her cheek; and a fourth did not sufficiently blacken her nails. At last after numberless disappointments on the one side and the other, he made choice of the incomparable Nanhoa, queen of the scar­let dragons.

The preparations for the royal nuptials, or the envy of the disappointed ladies, needs no description; both the one and the other were as great as they could be; the beautiful princess was conducted amidst admiring multitudes to the royal couch, where after being di­vested of every encumbering ornament, she was placed, in expectance of the youthful bridegroom, who did not keep her long in expectation. He came more chearful than the morning, and printing on her lips a burning kiss, the attendants took this as a proper signal to withdraw.

Perhaps I ought to have mentioned in the beginning that, among several other qualifications, the prince was fond of collecting and breeding mice, which being an harmless pastime, none of his counsellors thought proper to dissuade him from: he therefore kept a great variety of these pretty little animals in the most beau­tiful cages enriched with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, pearls, and other precious stones: thus he innocently spent four hours each day, in comtemplating their in­nocent little pastimes.

But to proceed, the Prince and Princess were now in bed; one with all the love and expectation, the other with all the modesty and fear, which is natural to sup­pose, both willing, yet afraid to begin; when the [Page 212] Prince happening to look towards the outside of the bed, perceived one of the most beautiful animals in the world, a white mouse with green eyes, playing about the floor, and performing an hundred pretty tricks. He was already master of blue mice, red mice, and even white mice with yellow eyes; but a white mouse with green eyes, was what he long endeavoured to pos­sess: wherefore leaping from bed with the utmost im­patience and agility, the youthful Prince attempted to seize the little charmer, but it was fled in a moment; for alas! the mouse was sent by a discontented Princess, and was itself a fairy.

It is impossible to describe the agony of the Prince upon this occasion. He sought round and round every part of the room even the bed where the Princess lay was not exempt from the enquiry: he turned the Prin­cess on one side and t'other, stripped her quite naked, but no mouse was to be found; the Princess herself was kind enough to assist, but still to no purpose.

Alas, cryed the young Prince in an agony, how un­happy am I to be thus disappointed; never sure was so beautiful an animal seen, I would give half my king­dom and my princess, to him that would find it. The Princess though not much pleased with the latter part of his offer, endeavoured to comfort him as well as she could; she let him know that he had an hundred mice already, which ought to be at least sufficient to satisfy any philosopher like him. Tho' none of them had green eyes, yet he should learn to thank heaven that they had eyes. She told him, (for she was a profound mo­ralist) that incurable evils must be born, and that use­less lamentations were vain, and that man was born to [Page 213] misfortunes; she even entreated him to return to bed, and she would endeavour to lull him on her bosom to repose; but still the Prince continued inconsolable; and regarding her with a stern air, for which his family was remarkable, he vowed never to sleep in the royal palace, or indulge himself in the innocent pleasures of matrimony, till he had found the white mouse with the green eyes.

Prythee, Col. Leech, cried his Lordship, interrupt­ing me, how do you like that nose; don't you think there is something of the manner of Rembrandt in it? A prince in all this agony for a white mouse, O ridicu­lous! Don't you think, Major Vampyre, that eye­brow stippled very prettily? but pray what are the green eyes to the purpose, except to amuse children? I would give a thousand guineas to lay on the colour­ing of this cheek more smoothly. But I ask pardon, pray, Sir, proceed.

From the same.

KINGS, continued I, at that time were different from what they are now; they then never en­gaged their word for any thing which they did not ri­gorously intend to perform. This was the case of Bonbenin, who continued all night to lament his mis­fortunes to the Princess, who ecchoed groan for groan. When morning came, he published an edict, offering half his kingdom, and his Princess, to the person who [Page 214] should catch and bring him the white mouse with green eyes.

The edict was scarce published, when all the traps in the kingdom were baited with cheese; numberless mice were taken and destroyed; but still the much wished for mouse was not among the number. The privy council were assembled more than once to give their advice; but all their deliberations came to nothing; even though there were two complete vermin-killers and three professed rat-catchers of the number. Fre­quent addresses, as is usual on extraordinary occasions, were sent from all parts of the empire; but though these promised well, though in them he received an assurance, that his faithful subjects would assist in his search with their lives and fortunes, yet with all their loyalty, they failed when the time came that the mouse was to be caught.

The Prince therefore was resolved to go himself in search, determined never to lie two nights in one place till he had found what he sought for. Thus quitting his palace without attendants, he set out upon his journey, and travelled through many a desert, and crossed many a river, high over hills, and down along vales, still restless, still enquiring wherever he came; but no white mouse was to be found.

As one day, fatigued with his journey, he was shad­ing himself from the heat of the mid-day sun, under the arching branches of a banana-tree, meditating on the object of his pursuit, he perceived an old woman, hideously deformed, approaching him; by her stoop, and the wrinkles of her visage, she seemed at least five hundred years old; and the spotted toad was not more [Page 215] freckled than was her skin. "Ah! prince Bonbenin­bonbobbin bonbobbinet, cried the creature, what has led you so many thousand miles from your own king­dom; what is it you look for, and what induces you to travel into the Kingdom of Emmets?" The prince, who was excessively complaisant, told her the whole story three times over; for she was hard of hearing. "Well, says the old fairy, for such she was, I promise to put you in possession of the white mouse with green eyes, and that immediately too, upon one condition." "One condition, cried the prince in a rapture, name a thousand; I shall undergo them all with pleasure." "Nay, interrupted the old fairy, I ask but one, and that not very mortifying neither; it is only that you in­stantly consent to marry me."

It is impossible to express the prince's confusion at this demand; he loved the mouse, but he detested the bride; he hesitated; he desired time to think upon the proposal; he would have been glad to consult his friends on such an occasion. "Nay, nay, cried the odious fairy, if you demur, I retract my promise; I do not desire to force my favours on any man. Here, you my attendants, cried she, stamping with her foot, let my machine be driven up; Barbacela, Queen of Emmets, is not used to contemptuous treatment." She had no sooner spoken than her fiery chariot appeared in the air, drawn by two snails; and she was just going to step in, when the prince reflected, that now or ne­ver was the time to be possessed of the white mouse; and quite forgetting his lawful princess Nanhoa, falling on his knees, he implored forgiveness for having rashly rejected so much beauty. This well-timed compli­ment instantly appeased the angry fairy. She affected [Page 216] an hideous leer of approbation, and, taking the young prince by the hand, conducted him to a neighbouring church, where they were married together in a mo­ment. As soon as the ceremony was performed, the prince, who was to the last degree desirous of seeing his favourite mouse, reminded the bride of her promise. "To confess a truth, my prince, cried she, I myself am that very white mouse you saw on your wedding night in the royal apartment. I now therefore give you the choice, whether you would have me a mouse by day, and a woman by night, or a mouse by night and a woman by day." Tho' the prince was an excel­lent casuist, he was quite at a loss how to determine, but at last thought it most prudent to have recourse to a blue cat that had followed him from his own domini­ons, and frequently amused him with its conversation, and assisted him with its advice; in fact this cat was no other than the faithful Princess Nanhoa herself, who had shared with him all his hardships in this disguise.

By her instructions he was determined in his choice, and returning to the old fairy, prudently observed, that as she must have been sensible he had married her only for the sake of what she had, and not for her personal qualifications, he thought it would for several reasons be most convenient, if she continued a woman by day and appeared a mouse by night.

The old fairy was a good deal mortified at her hus­band's want of gallantry, though she was reluctantly obliged to comply; the day was therefore spent in the most polite amusements, the gentlemen talked smut, the ladies laughed, and were angry. At last the hap­py night drew near, the blue cat still stuck by the side [Page 217] of its master, and even followed him to the bridal apart­ment. Barbacela entered the chamber, wearing a train fifteen yards long, supported by porcupines, and all ever beset with jewels, which served to render her more detestable. She was just stepping into bed to the Prince, forgetting her promise, when he insisted upon seeing her in the shape of a mouse. She had pro­mised, and no fairy can break her word; wherefore assuming the figure of the most beautiful mouse in the world, she skipped and played about with an infinity of amusement. The Prince in an agony of rapture, was desirous of seeing his pretty playfellow move a slow dance about the floor to his own singing; he began to sing, and the mouse immediately to perform with the most perfect knowledge of time, and the finest grace and greatest gravity imaginable; it only began, for Nanhoa, who had long waited for the opportunity in the shape of a cat, flew upon it instantly without re­morse, and eating it up in the hundredth part of a moment, broke the charm, and then resumed her na­tural figure.

The Prince now found that he had all along been under the power of enchantment, that his passion for the white mouse was entirely fictitious, and not the genuine complexion of his soul; he now saw that his earnestness after mice was an illiberal amusement, and much more becoming a ratcatcher than a Prince. All his meannesses now stared him in the face, he begged the discreet Princess's pardon an hundred times. The Princess very readily forgave him; and both returning to their palace in Bonbobbin, lived very happily toge­ther, and reigned many years with all that wisdom, which, by the story, they appear to have been posses­sed [Page 218] of. Perfectly convinced by their former adven­tures, that they who place their affections on trifles at first for amusement, will find those trifles at last become their most serious concern.


From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first president of the Ceremonial Acadamy at Pekin, in China.

ASK an Englishman what nation in the world enjoys most freedom, and he immediately an­swers, his own. Ask him in what that freedom prin­cipally consists, and he is instantly silent. This happy pre-eminence does not arise from the people's enjoying a larger share in legislation than elsewhere; for in this particular, several states in Europe excell them; nor does it arise from a greater exemption from taxes, for few countries pay more; it does not proceed from their being restrained by fewer laws, for no people are bur­thened with so many; nor does it particularly consist in the security of their property, for property is pretty well secured in every polite state of Europe.

How then are the English more free (for more free they certainly are) than the people of any other coun­try, or under any other form of government whatever. Their freedom consists in their enjoying all the advan­tages of democracy with this superior prerogative bor­rowed from monarchy, that the severity of their laws may be relaxed without endangering the constitution.

[Page 219] In a monarchical state, in which the constitution is strongest, the laws may be relaxed without danger; for though the people should be unanimous in the breach of any one in particular, yet still there is an effective power superior to the people, capable of en­forcing obedience, whenever it may be proper to in­culcate the law either towards the support or welfare of the community.

But in all those governments, where laws derive their sanction from the people alone, transgressions cannot be overlooked without bringing the constitution into dan­ger. They who transgress the law in such a case, are those who prescribe it, by which means it loses not only its influence but its sanction. In every republic the laws must be strong, because the constitution is feeble, they must resemble an Asiatic husband who is justly jealous, because he knows himself impotent. Thus in Holland, Switzerland, and Genoa, new laws are not frequently enacted, but the old ones are observed with unremit­ting severity. In such republics therefore the people are slaves to laws of their own making, little less than in unmixed monarchies where they are slaves to the will of one subject to frailties like themselves.

In England, from a variety of happy accidents, their constitution is just strong enough, or if you will, mo­narchical enough, to permit a relaxation of the severity of laws, and yet those laws still to remain sufficiently strong to govern the people. This is the most perfect state of civil liberty, of which we can form any idea; here we see a greater number of laws than in any other country, while the people at the same time obey only such as are immediately conducive to the interests of [Page 220] society; several are unnoticed, many unknown; some kept to be revived and enforced upon proper occasions, others left to grow obsolete, even without the necessity of abrogation.

Scarce an Englishman who does not almost every day of his life, offend with impunity against some ex­press law, and for which in a certain conjuncture of circumstances he would not receive punishment. Ga­ming houses, preaching at prohibited places, assembled crowds, nocturnal amusements, public shows, and an hundred other instances are forbid and frequented. These prohibitions are useful; though it be prudent in their magistrates, and happy for their people, that they are not enforced, and none but the venal or mer­cenary attempt to enforce them.

The law in this case like an indulgent parent, still keeps the rod, though the child is seldom corrected. Were those pardoned offences to rise into enormity, were they likely to obstruct the happiness of society, or endanger the state, it is then, that justice would resume her terrors, and punish those faults she had so often overlooked with indulgence. It is to this ducti­lity of the laws that an Englishman owes the freedom he enjoys superior to others in a more popular govern­ment; every step therefore the constitution takes to­wards a Democratic form, every diminution of the le­gal authority is, in fact, a diminution of the subjects freedom; but every attempt to render the govern­ment more popular, not only impairs natural liberty, but even will at last, dissolve the political constitu­tion.

[Page 21] Every popular government seems calculated to last only for a time, it grows rigid with age, new laws are multiplying, and the old continue in force, the subjects are oppressed, burthen'd with a multiplicity of legal injunctions, there are none from whom to expect redress, and nothing but a strong convulsion in the state can vindicate them into former liberty: thus the people of Rome, a few great ones excepted, found more real freedom under their Emperors tho' tyrants, than they had experienced in the old age of the commonwealth in which their laws were become numerous and pain­ful, in which new laws were every day enacting and the old ones executed with rigour. They even refused to be reinstated in their former prerogatives, upon an offer made them to this purpose; for they actually found Emperors the only means of softening the rigours of their constitution.

The constitution of England is at present possessed of the strength of its native oak, and the flexibility of the bending tamarisk; but should the people at any time, with a mistaken zeal, pant after an imaginary freedom, and fancy that abridging monarchy was en­creasing their privileges, they would be very much mistaken, since every jewel plucked from the crown of majesty would only be made use of as a bribe to cor­ruption; it might enrich the few who shared it among them, but would in fact impoverish the public.

As the Roman senators by slow and imperceptible degrees became masters of the people, yet still flattered them with a shew of freedom, while themselves only were free; so is it possible for a body of men, while they stand up for privileges, to grow into an exube­rance [Page 222] of power themselves, and the public become actually dependent, while, some of its individuals only governed.

If then, my friend, there should in this country, ever be on the throne a King who through good nature or age, should give up the smallest part of his prerogative to the people, if there should come a mi­nister of merit and popularity—But I have room for no more.


To the same.

AS I was yesterday seated at breakfast over a pen­sive dish of tea, my meditations were interrupted by my old friend and companion, who introduced a stranger, dressed pretty much like himself. The gen­tleman made several apologies for his visit, begged of me to impute his intrusion to the sincerity of his re­spect, and the warmth of his curiosity.

As I am very suspicious of my company, when I find them very civil, without any apparent reason, I answer­ed the stranger's caresses at first with reserve; which my friend perceiving, instantly let me into my visitant's trade and character, asking Mr. Fudge, whether he had lately published any thing new? I now conjectur­ed that my guest was no other than a bookseller, and his answer confirmed my suspicions.

"Excuse me, Sir, says he, it is not the season; books have their time as well as cucumbers. I would no more [Page 223] bring out a new work in summer, than I would sell pork in the dog days. Nothing in my way goes off in summer, except very light goods indeed. A review, a magazine, or a sessions paper, may amuse a summer reader; but all our stock of value we reserve for a spring and winter trade." I must confess, Sir, says I, a curiosity to know what you call a valuable stock, which can only bear a winter perusal. "Sir, replied the bookseller, it is not my way to cry up my own goods; but without exaggeration I will venture to shew with any of the trade; my books at least have the peculiar advantage of being always new; and it is my way to clear off my old to the trunkmakers every season. I have ten new title pages now about me, which only want books to be added to make them the finest things in nature. Others may pretend to direct the vulgar; but that is not my way; I always let the vulgar direct me; wherever popular clamour arises, I always eccho the million. For instance, should the people in gene­ral say that such a man is a rogue, I instantly give or­ders to set him down in print a villain; thus every man buys the book, not to learn new sentiments, but to have the pleasure of seeing his own reflected." But Sir, interrupted I, you speak as if you yourself wrote the books you publish; may I be so bold as to ask a sight of some of those intended publications which are shortly to surprize the world? "As to that, Sir, replied the tal­kative bookseller, I only draw out the plans myself; and though I am very cautious of communicating them to any, yet, as in the end I have a favour to ask, you shall see a few of them. Here, Sir, here they are diamonds of the first water, I assure you. Imprimis, a translation of several medical precepts for the use of such physicians as do not understand Latin. Item, the young clergy­man's [Page 224] art of placing patches regularly, with a disser­tation on the different manner of smiling without dis­torting the face. Item, the whole art of love made perfectly easy by a broker of 'Change Alley. Item' the proper manner of cutting black-lead pencils, and making crayons; by the Right Hon. the Earl of ***. Item, the muster master general, or the review of re­views—" Sir, cried I, interrupting him, my curiosity with regard to title pages is satisfied, I should be glad to see some longer manuscript, an history, or an epic poem.—"Bless me, cries the man of industry, now you speak of an epic poem, you shall see an excellent farce. Here it is; dip into it where you will, it will be found replete with true modern humour. Strokes, Sir; it is filled with strokes of wit and satire in every line." Do you call these dashes of the pen strokes, replied I, for I must confess I can see no other? "And pray Sir, re­turned he, what do you call them? Do you see any thing now a-days that is not filled with strokes—and dashes?—Sir, a well placed dash makes half the wit of our writers of modern humour. I bought last season a piece that had no other merit upon earth than nine hundred and ninety-five breaks, seventy-two ha ha's, three good things, and a garter. And yet it played off, and bounced, and cracked, and made more sport than a fire work." I fancy then, Sir, you were a con­siderable gainer? "It must be owned the piece did pay; but upon the whole I cannot much boast of last winter's success; I gained by two murders, but then I lost by an ill timed charity sermon. I was a consider­able sufferer by my Direct road to an estate, but the In­fernal Guide brought me up again. Ah, Sir, that was a piece touched off by the hands of a master, filled with good things from one end to the other. The au­thor [Page 225] had nothing but the jest in view; no dull moral lurking beneath, nor ill-natured satire to sour the reader's good humour; he wisely considered that moral and hu­mour at the same time were quite over-doing the busi­ness." To what purpose was the book then published? cri­ed I. "Sir, the book was published in order to be sold; and no book sold better, except the criticisms upon it, which came out soon after. Of all kinds of writing that goes off best at present; and I generally fasten a criticism upon every selling book that is published.

I once had an author who never left the least open­ing for the critics: close was the word, always very right, and very dull, ever on the safe side of an argu­ment; yet, with all his qualifications, incapable of coming into favour. I soon perceived that his bent was for criticism; and as he was good for nothing else, sup­plied him with pens and paper, and planted him at the beginning of every month as a censor on the works of others. In short, I found him a treasure; no merit could escape him: but what is most remarkable of all, he ever wrote best and bitterest when drunk." But are there not some works, interrupted I, that from the very manner of their composition must be exempt from criti­cism; particularly such as profess to disregard its laws. "There is no work whatsoever but he can cri­ticise, replied the bookseller; even though you wrote in Chinese he would have a pluck at you. Suppose you should take it into your head to publish a book, let it be a volume of Chinese letters for instance; write how you will, he shall shew the world you could have written better. Should you, with the most local ex­actness, stick to the manners and customs of the coun­try from whence you come; should you confine your­self [Page 226] to the narrow limits of eastern knowledge, and be perfectly simple, and perfectly natural, he has then the strongest reason to exclaim. He may with a sneer send you back to China for readers. He may observe, that after the first or second letter the iteration of the same simplicity is insupportably tedious; but the worst of all is, the public in such a case will anticipate his censures, and leave you with all your uninstructive sim­plicity to be mauled at discretion."

Yes, cried I, but, in order to avoid his indignation, and what I should fear more, that of the public, I would in such a case write with all the knowledge I was master of. As I am not possessed of much learning, at least I would not suppress what little I had; nor would I appear more stupid than nature made me. "Here then, cries the bookseller, we should have you entire­ly in our power; unnatural, uneastern; quite out of character; erroneously sensible would be the whole cry; Sir, we should then hunt you down like a rat." Head of my father! said I, sure there are but two ways; the door must either be shut, or it must be open. I must either be natural or unnatural. "Be what you will, we shall criticise you, returned the booksel­ler, and prove you a dunce in spite of your teeth. But, Sir, it is time that I should come to business. I have just now in the press an history of China, and if you will but put your name to it as the author, I shall re­pay the obligation with gratitude." What, Sir, repli­ed I, put my name to a work which I have not writ­ten! Never while I retain a proper respect for the pub­lic and myself. The bluntness of my reply quite abated the ardour of the bookseller's conversation; and, after about half an hour's disagreeable reserve, he with some ceremony took his leave and withdrew.


To the same.

IN all other countries, my dear Fum Hoam, the rich are distinguished by their dress. In Persia, China, and most parts of Europe, those who are possessed of much gold and silver, put some of it upon their cloaths; but in England, those who carry much up­on their cloaths, are remarked for having but little in their pockets. A tawdry outside is regarded as a badge of poverty, and those who can sit at home, and glote over their thousands in silent satisfaction, are general­ly found to do it in plain cloaths.

This diversity of thinking from the rest of the world which prevails here, I was first at a loss to account for; but am since informed that it was introduced by an inter­course between them and their neighbours the French; who, whenever they came in order to pay those islanders a visit, were generally very well dressed, and very poor, daubed with lace, but all the gilding on the outside. By this means laced cloaths have been brought so much into contempt, that at present even their Man­darines are ashamed of finery.

I must own myself a convert to English simplicity; I am no more for oftentation of wealth than of learn­ing; the person who in company should pretend to be wiser than others, I am apt to regard as illiterate and ill bred; the person whose cloaths are extremely fine, I am too apt to consider as not being possessed of any superiority of fortune, but resembling those Indians [Page 228] who are found to wear all the gold they have in the world in a bob at the nose.

I was lately introduced into a company of the best dressed men I have seen since my arrival. Upon en­tering the room, I was struck with awe at the gran­deur of the different dresses. That personage, thought I, in blue and gold, must be some Emperor's son; that, in green and silver, a Prince of the blood; he, in embroidered scarlet, a prime minister; all first rate no­blemen, I suppose, and well looking noblemen too. I sate for some time with that uneasiness with conscious inferiority produces in the ingenuous mind, all atten­tion to their discourse. However, I found their conver­sation more vulgar than I could have expected from per­sonages of such distinction: if these, thought I to my­self, be Princes, they are the most stupid Princes I have ever conversed with: yet still I continued to venerate their dress; for dress has a kind of mechanical influ­ence on the mind.

My friend in black indeed did not behave with the same deference, but contradicted the finest of them all in the most peremptory tones of contempt. But I had [...]carce time to wonder at the imprudence of his con­duct, when I found occasion to be equally surprized at the absurdity of theirs; for upon the entry of a middle-aged man, dressed in a cap, dirty shirt and boots, the whole circle seemed diminished of their former im­portance, and contended who should be first to pay their obeysance to the stranger. They somewhat re­sembled a circle of Kalmucs offering incense to a bear.

Eager to know the cause of so much seeming con­tradiction, I whispered my friend out of the room, and [Page 229] found that the august company consisted of no other than a dancing master, two fiddlers, and a third rate actor, all assembled in order to make a set at country dances, as the middle-aged gentleman whom I saw en­ter was a squire from the country, and desirous of learn­ing the new manner of footing and smoothing up the rudiments of his rural minuet.

I was no longer surprized at the authority which my friend assumed among them, nay, was even displeased (pardon my eastern education) that he had not kicked every creature of them down stairs. "What, said I, shall a set of such paltry fellows dress themselves up like sons of kings, and claim even the transitory re­spect of half an hour. There should be some law to re­strain so manifest a breach of privilege; they should go from house to house, as in China, with the instru­ments of their profession strung round their necks; by this means we might be able to distinguish and treat them in a stile of becoming contempt." Hold, my friend, replied my companion, were your reformation to take place, as dancing masters and fiddlers now mimic gen­tlemen in appearance, we should then find our fine gen­tlemen conforming to theirs. A beau might be intro­duced to a lady of fashion with a fiddle case hanging at his neck by a red ribbon; and, instead of a cane, might carry a fiddle stick. Tho' to be as dull as a first rate dancing master might be used with proverbial justice; yet, dull as he is, many a fine gentleman sets him up as the proper standard of politeness, copies not only the pert vivacity of his air, but the flat insipidity of his con­versation. In short, if you make a law against danc­ing masters imitating the fine gentleman, you should [Page 230] with as much reason enact, that no fine gentleman shall imitate the dancing master.

After I had left my friend, I made towards home, reflecting as I went upon the difficulty of distinguish­ing men by their appearance. Invited, however, by the freshness of the evening, I did not return directly, but went to ruminate on what had passed in a pub­lic garden belonging to the city. Here, as I sate up­on one of the benches, and felt the pleasing sym­pathy which nature in bloom inspires, a disconsolate figure, who sate on the other end of the feat, seem­ed no way to enjoy the serenity of the season.

His dress was miserable beyond description: a thread­bare coat of the rudest materials; a shirt, though clean, yet extremely coarse; hair that seemed to have been long unconscious of the comb; and all the rest of his equipage impressed with the marks of genuine poverty.

As he continued to sigh, and testify every symptom of despair, I was naturally led, from a motive of hu­manity, to offer comfort and assistance. You know my heart; and that all who are miserable may claim a place there. The pensive stranger at first declined any conversation; but at last perceiving a peculiarity in my accent and manner of thinking, he began to unfold himself by degrees.

I now found that he was not so very miserable as he at first appeared; upon my offering him a small piece of money, he refused my favour, yet without appear­ing displeased at my intended generosity. It is true he sometimes interrupted the conversation with a sigh, and [Page 231] talked pathetically of neglected merit; yet still I could perceive a serenity in his countenance, that, upon a closer inspection, bespoke inward content.

Upon a pause in the conversation I was going to take my leave, when he begged I would favour him with my company home to supper. I was surprized at such a demand from a person of his appearance; but willing to indulge curiosity, I accepted his invitation; and though I felt some repugnance at being seen with one who appeared so very wretched, went along with seeming alacrity.

Still as he approached nearer home, his good hu­mour proportionably seemed to encrease. At last he stopped, not at the gate of an hovel, but of a magni­ficent palace! When I cast my eyes upon all the sump­tuous elegance which every where presented upon en­tering, and then when I looked at my seeming misera­ble conductor, I could scarce think that all this finery belonged to him; yet in fact it did. Numerous ser­vants ran through the apartments with silent assiduity; several ladies of beauty and magnificently dressed came to welcome his return; a most elegant supper was provided; in short, I found the person, whom a little before I had sincerely pitied, to be in reality a most refined epicure; One who courted contempt abroad, in order to feel with keener gust the pleasure of pre-emi­nence at home.


From the same.

HOW often have we admired the eloquence of Europe! That strength of thinking, that deli­cacy of imagination, even beyond the efforts of the Chinese themselves. How were we enraptured with those bold figures which sent every sentiment with force to the heart. How have we spent whole days together in learning those arts by which European writers got within the passions and led the reader as if by enchantment.

But though we have learned most of the rhetorical figures of the last age, yet there seems to be one or two of great use here, which have not yet travelled to China. The figures I mean are called Bawdy and Pert­ness: none are more fashionable; none so sure of ad­mirers; they are of such a nature, that the merest blockhead, by a proper use of them, shall have the re­putation of a wit; they lye level to the meanest capa­cities, and address those passions which all have, or would be ashamed to disown.

It has been observed, and I believe with some truth, that it is very difficult for a dunce to obtain the repu­tation of a wit; yet by the assistance of the figure Bawdy, this may be easily effected, and a bawdy block­head often passes for a fellow of smart parts and pre­tensions. Every object in nature helps the jokes for­ward, without scarce any effort of the imagination. If a lady stands, something very good may be said upon that, if she happens to fall, with the help of a little fa­shionable [Page 233] Pruriency, there are forty sly things ready on the occasion. But a prurient jest has always been found to give most pleasure to a few very old gentlemen, who being in some measure dead to other sensations, feel the force of the allusion with double violence on the organs of risibility.

An author who writes in this manner is generally sure therefore of having the very old and impotent among his admirers; for these he may properly be said to write, and from these he ought to expect his re­ward, his works being often a very proper succedaneum to cantharides, or an assafoetida pill. His pen should be considered in the same light as the squirt of an apo­thecary, both being directed at the same generous end.

But though this manner of writing be perfectly a­dapted to the taste of gentlemen and ladies of fashion here, yet still it deserves greater praise in being equal­ly suited to the most vulgar apprehensions. The very ladies and gentlemen of Benin, or Cafraria, are in this respect tolerably polite, and might relish a prurient joke of this kind with critical propriety; probably, too, with higher gust, as they wear neither breeches nor petti­coats to intercept the application.

It is certain I never could have expected the ladies here, biassed as they are by education, capable at once of bravely throwing off their prejudices, and not only applauding books in which this figure makes the only merit, but even adopting it in their own conversation. Yet so it is, the pretty innocents now carry those books openly in their hands, which formerly were hid under the cushion; they now lisp their double meanings with [Page 234] so much grace, and talk over the raptures they bestow with such little reserve, that I am sometimes reminded of a custom among the entertainers in China, who think it a piece of necessary breeding to whet the ap­petites of their guests, by letting them smell dinner in the kitchen before it is served up to table.

The veneration we have for many things, entirely proceeds from their being carefully concealed. Were the idolatrous Tartar permitted to lift the veil which keeps his idol from view, it might be a certain method to cure his future superstition; with what a noble spi­rit of freedom therefore must that writer be possessed, who bravely paints things as they are, who lifts the veil of modesty, who displays the most hidden recesses of the temple, and shews the erring people that the object of their vows is either, perhaps a mouse, or a monkey.

However, though this figure be at present so much in fashion; though the professors of it are so much caressed by the great, those perfect judges of literary excellence; yet it is confessed to be only a revival of what was once fashionable here before. There was a time, when by this very manner of writing, the gentle Tom. Durfey, as I read in English authors, acquired his great reputation, and became the favourite of a king.

The works of this original genius, tho' they never travelled abroad to China, and scarce have reach'd pos­terity at home, were once found upon every fashionable toilet, and made the subject of polite, I mean very po­lite conversation. "Has your Grace seen Mr. Durfey's last new thing, the Oylet Hole. A most facetious piece?" [Page 235] Sure, my Lord, all the world must have seen it; Dur­fey is certainly the most comical creature alive. It is impossible to read his things and live. Was there e­ver any thing so natural and pretty, as when the Squire and Bridget meet in the cellar. And then the difficul­ties they both find in broaching the beer barrel are so arch and so ingenious! We have certainly nothing of this kind in the language." In this manner they spoke then, and in this manner they speak now; for though the successor of Durfey does not excel him in wit, the world must confess he out-does him in obscenity.

There are several very dull fellows, who, by a few mechanical helps, sometimes learn to become extreme­ly brilliant and pleasing; with a little dexterity in the management of the eye-brows, fingers, and nose. By imitating a cat, a sow and pigs; by a loud laugh, and a slap on the shoulder, the most ignorant are furnished out for conversation. But the writer finds it impossible to throw his winks, his shrugs, or his attitudes upon paper; he may borrow some assistance indeed, by print­ing his face at the title page; but without wit to pass for a man of ingenuity, no other mechanical help but downright obscenity will suffice. By speaking to some peculiar sensations we are always sure of exciting laugh­ter, for the jest does not lie in the writer, but in the sub­ject.

But Bawdry is often helped on by another figure cal­led Pertness; and few indeed are found to excell in one that are not possessed of the other.

As in common conversation, the best way to make the audience laugh is by first laughing yourself; so in writing, the properest manner is to shew an attempt at [Page 236] humour, which will pass upon most for humour in reality. To effect this, readers must be treated with the most perfect familiarity: in one page the author is to make them a low bow, and in the next to pull them by the nose: he must talk in riddles, and then send them to bed in order to dream for the solution. He must speak of himself and his chapters, and his man­ner, and what he would be at, and his own importance, and his mother's importance with the most unpitying prolixity: Now and then testifying his contempt for all but himself, smiling without a jest, and without wit possessing vivacity.


From the same.

THO' naturally pensive, yet I am fond of gay company, and take every opportunity of thus dismissing the mind from duty. From this motive I am often found in the centre of a crowd; and where­ever pleasure is to be sold, am always a purchaser. In those places, without being remarked by any, I join in whatever goes forward, work my passions into a similitude of frivolous earnestness, shout as they shout, and condemn as they happen to disapprove. A mind thus sunk for a while below its natural standard, is qua­lified for stronger flights, as those first retire who would spring forward with greater vigour.

Attracted by the serenity of the evening, my friend and I lately went to gaze upon the company in one of the public walks near the city. Here we sauntered to­gether [Page 237] for some time, either praising the beauty of such as were handsome, or the dresses of such as had nothing else to recommend them. We had gone thus deliberately forward for some time, when stopping on a sudden, my friend caught me by the elbow, and led me out of the public walk; I could perceive by the quickness of his pace, and by his frequently looking behind, that he was attempting to avoid somebody who followed; we now turned to the right, then to the left; as we went forward he still went faster, but in vain; the person whom he attempted to escape, hunt­ed us through every doubling, and gained upon us each moment; so that at last we fairly stood still, re­solving to face what we could not avoid.

Our pursuer soon came up, and joined us with all the familiarity of an old acquaintance. My dear Dry­bone, cries he, shaking my friend's hand, where have you been hiding this half a century? Positively I had fancied you were gone down to cultivate matrimony and your estate in the country. During the reply, I had an opportunity of surveying the appearance of our new companion; his hat was pinched up with peculiar smartness; his looks were pale, thin, and sharp; round his neck he wore a broad black ribbon, and in his bo­som a buckle studded with glass; his coat was trimmed with tarnished twist; he wore by his side a sword with a black hilt, and his stockings of silk, though newly washed, were grown yellow by long service. I was so much engaged with the peculiarity of his dress, that I attended only to the latter part of my friend's reply, in which he complimented Mr. Tibbs on the taste of his cloaths, and the bloom in his countenance, Psha, psha, Will, cried the figure, no more of that if you love [Page 238] me, you know I hate flattery, on my soul I do; and yet to be sure an intimacy with the great will improve one's appearance, and a course of venison will fatten; and yet faith I despise the great as much as you do; but there are a great many damned honest fellows among them; and we must not quarrel with one half, because the other wants weeding. If they were all such as my lord Mudler, one of the most good-natured creatures that ever squeezed a lemon, I should myself be among the number of their admirers. I was yester­day to dine at the Dutchess of Piccadilly's, My lord was there. Ned, says he to me, Ned, says he, I'll hold gold to silver, I can tell where you were poaching last night. Poaching my lord, says I; faith you have missed already; for I staid at home, and let the girls poach for me. That's my way; I take a fine woman as some animals do their prey; stand still, and swoop, they fall into my mouth.

Ah, Tibbs, thou art an happy fellow, cried my companion with looks of infinite pity, I hope your for­tune is as much improved as your understanding in such company? Improved, replyed the other; You shall know,—but let it go no further,—a great secret—five hundred a year to begin with.—My Lord's word of honour for it—His Lordship took me down in his own Chariot yesterday, and we had a tete-a-tete dinner in the country; where we talked of nothing else. I fancy you forget, sir, cried I, you told us but this moment of your dining yesterday in town! Did I say so, replied he, cooly, to be sure if I said so; it was so—Dined in town; egad now I do remember, I did dine in town; but I dined in the country too; for you must know, my boys, I eat two dinners. By the bye, I am grown as [Page 239] nice as the Devil in my eating. I'll tell you a pleasant affair about that, we were a select party of us to dine at Lady Grogram's, an affected piece, but let it go no farther; a secret: well, there happened to be no Assa­foetida in the sauce to a turkey, upon which, says I, I'll hold a thousand guineas, and say done first, that—But dear Dry bone, you are an honest creature, lend me half a-crown for a minute or two, or so, just till—But hearkee, ask me for it the next time we meet, or it may be twenty to one but I forget to pay you.

When he left us, our conversation naturally turned upon so extraordinary a character. His very dress cries my friend, is not less extraordinary than his con­duct. If you meet him this day you find him in rags, if the next in embroidery. With those persons of di­stinction, of whom he talks so familiarly, he has scarce a coffee-house acquaintance. However, both for in­terests of society, and perhaps for his own, heaven has made him poor, and while all the world perceive his wants, he fancies them concealed from every eye. An agreeable companion because he understands flattery, and all must be pleased with the first part of his con­versation, though all are sure of its ending with a de­mand on their purse. While his youth countenances the levity of his conduct, he may thus earn a precari­ous subsistance, but when age comes on, the gravity of which is incompatible with buffoonery, then will he find himself forsaken by all. Condemned in the de­cline of life to hang upon some rich family whom he once despised, there to undergo all the ingenuity of studied contempt, to be employed only as a spy upon the servants, or a bug-bear to fright the children into obedience.


To the same.

I AM apt to fancy I have contracted a new ac­quaintance whom it will be no easy matter to shake off. My little beau yesterday overtook me again in one of the publick walks, and slapping me on the shoulder, saluted me with an air of the most perfect familiarity. His dress was the same as usual, except that he had more powder in his hair, wore a dirtier shirt, a pair of temple spectacles, and his hat under his arm.

As I knew him to be an harmless amusing little thing, I could not return his smiles with any degree of severity; so we walked forward on terms of the utmost intimacy, and in a few minutes discussed all the usual topics preliminary to particular conversation.

The oddities that marked his character, however, soon began to appear; he bowed to several well dressed persons, who, by their manner of returning the com­pliment, appeared perfect strangers. At intervals he drew out a pocket book, seeming to take memoran­dums before all the company, with much importance and assiduity. In this manner he led me through the length of the whole walk, fretting at his absurdities, and fancying myself laughed at not less than him by every spectator.

When we were got to the end of our procession, Blast me, cries he, with an air of vivacity, I never saw the park so thin in my life before; there's no company at [Page 241] all to day. Not a single face to be seen. No company, interrupted I peevishly; no company where there is such a crowd; why man, there's too much. What are the thousand that have been laughing at us but company! Lord, my dear, returned he, with the ut­most good humour, you seem immensely chagrined; but, blast me, when the world laughs at me, I laugh at the world, and so we are even. My Lord Trip, Bill Squash the Creolian, and I sometimes make a party at being ridiculous; and so we say and do a thousand things for the joke sake. But I see you are grave, and if you are for a fine grave sentimental companion, you shall dine with me and my wife to day, I must insist on't; I'll introduce you to Mrs. Tibbs, a Lady of as elegant qualifications as any in nature; she was bred, but that's between ourselves, under the inspection of the Countess of All-night. A charming body of voice, but no more of that, she shall give us a song. You shall see my little girl too, Carolina Wilhelmina Amelia Tibbs, a sweet pretty creature; I design her for my Lord Drumstick's eldest son, but that's in friendship, let it go no farther; she's but six years old, and yet she walks a minuet, and plays on the guittar immensely already. I intend she shall be as perfect as possible in every ac­complishment. In the first place I'll make her a scholar; I'll teach her Greek myself, and learn that language purposely to instruct her; but let that be a secret.

Thus saying, without waiting for a reply, he took me by the arm and hauled me along. We passed through many dark alleys and winding ways; for, from some motives to me unknown, he seemed to have a particular aversion to every frequented street; at last, however, we got to the door of a dismal looking house [Page 242] in the outlets of the town, where he informed me he chose to reside for the benefit of the air.

We entered the lower door, which ever seemed to lie most hospitably open; and I began to ascend an old and creaking stair-case, when, as he mounted to shew me the way, he demanded, whether I delighted in prospects, to which answering in the affirmative, Then, says he, I shall shew you one of the most charming in the world out of my windows; we shall see the ships sailing, and the whole country for twenty miles round, tip top, quite high. My Lord Swamp would give ten thousand guineas for such a one; but as I sometimes pleasantly tell him, I always love to keep my prospects at home, that my friends may see me the oftner.

By this time we were arrived as high as the stairs would permit us to ascend, till we came to what he was facetiously pleased to call the first floor down the chimney; and knocking at the door, a voice from within demanded, who's there? My conductor answer­ed, that it was him. But this not satisfying the querist, the voice again repeated the demand: to which he an­swered louder than before; and now the door was opened by an old woman with cautious reluctance.

When we were got in, he welcomed me to his house with great ceremony, and turning to the old woman, asked where was her lady? "Good troth, replied she, in a peculiar dialect, she's washing your twa shirts at the next door, because they have taken an oath against lending out the tub any longer." My two shirts, cries he in a tone that faultered with confusion, what does the ideot mean? "I ken what I mean well enough, re­plied the other, she's washing your twa shirts at the next door, because—" Fire and fury, no more of thy [Page 243] stupid explanations, cried he,—Go and inform her we have got company. Were that Scotch hag to be for ever in my family, she would never learn politeness, nor forget that absurd poisonous accent of hers, or testi­fy the smallest specimen of breeding or high life; and yet it is very surprizing too, as I had her from a par­liament man, a friend of mine, from the highlands, one of the politest men in the world; but that's a secret.

We waited some time for Mrs. Tibbs's arrival, dur­ing which interval I had a full opportunity of survey­ing the chamber and all its furniture; which consisted of four chairs with old wrought bottoms, that he as­sured me were his wife's embroidery; a square table that had been once japanned, a cradle, in one corner, a lumbering cabinet in the other; a broken shepherdess, and a mandarine without an head, were stuck over the chimney; and round the walls several paltry, unframed pictures, which he observed, were all his own draw­ing: What do you think, Sir, of that head in the cor­ner, done in the manner of Grisoni? there's the true keeping in it; its my own face, and though there hap­pens to be no likeness, a countess offered me an hun­dred for its fellow; I refused her, for, hang it, that would be mechanical, you know.

The wife at last made her appearance, at once a slattern and a coquet; much emaciated, but still car­rying the remains of beauty. She made twenty apolo­gies for being seen in such an odious dishabille, but hoped to be excused, as she had staid out all night at the gardens with the countess, who was excessively fond of the horns. "And, indeed, my dear, added she, turning to her husband, his lordship drank your health in a bumper." Poor Jack, cries he, a dear good-natured creature, I know he loves me; but I [Page 244] hope, my dear, you have given orders for dinner; you need make no great preparations neither, there are but three of us, something elegant, and little will do; a turbot, an ortolan, or a [...]. Or what do you think, my dear, interrupts the wife, of a nice pretty bit of ox cheek, piping hot, and dressed with a little of my own sauce.—The very thing, replies he, it will eat best with some smart bottled beer; but be sure to let's have the sauce his Grace was so fond of. I hate your immense loads of meat, that is country all over; extreme dis­gusting to those who are in the least acquainted with high life.

By this time my curiosity began to abate, and my appetite to encrease; the company of fools may at first make us smile, but at last never fails of rendering us melancholy. I therefore pretended to recollect a prior engagement, and after having shewn my respect to the house, according to the fashion of the English, by giv­ing the old servant a piece of money at the door, I took my leave. Mr. Tibbs assuring me, that dinner, if I staid, would be ready at least in less than two hours.

From Fum Hoam to Altangi, the discontented wanderer.

THE distant sounds of music that catch new sweetness as they vibrate through the long drawn valley, are not more pleasing to the ear than the tidings of a far distant friend.

I have just received two hundred of thy letters by the Russian carravan, descriptive of the manners of Europe. You have left it to geographers to determine [Page 245] the site of their mountains, and extent of their lakes, seeming only employed in discovering the genius, the government, and disposition of the people.

In those letters I perceive a journal of the operations of your mind upon whatever occurs, rather than a detail of your travels from one building to another; of your taking a draught of this ruin, or that obelisk; of paying so many Tomans for this commodity, or laying up a proper store for the passage of some new wilder­ness.

From your accounts of Russia I learn, that this na­tion is again relaxing into pristine barbarity, that its great Emperor wanted a life of an hundred years more to bring about his vast design. A savage people may be resembled to their own forests; a few years are suf­ficient to clear away the obstructions to agriculture; but it requires many ere the ground acquires a proper degree of fertility; the Russians, attached to their an­cient prejudices, again renew their hatred to strangers, and indulge every former brutal excess. So true it is, that the revolutions of wisdom are slow and difficult; the revolutions of folly or ambition precipitate and easy. We are not to be astonished, says Confucius*, that the wise walk more slowly in their road to virtue, than fools in their passage to vice; since passion drags us along, while wisdom only points out the way.

The German Empire, that remnant of the Majesty of ancient Rome, appears from your accounts on the eve of dissolution. The members of its vast body want [Page 246] every tye of government to unite them, and seem fee­bly held together only by their respect for an ancient in­stitution. The very name of country and countrymen, which in other nations makes one of the strongest bonds of government, has been here for some time laid aside, each of its inhabitants seeming more proud of being called from the petty state which gives him birth, than by the more well known title of German.

This government may be regarded in the light of a severe master, and a feeble opponent. The states which are now subject to the laws of the Empire, are only watching a proper occasion to fling off the yoke, and those which are become too powerful to be com­pelled to obedience, now begin to think of dictating in their turn. The struggles in this state are therefore not in order to preserve but to destroy the ancient con­stitution; if one side succeeds, the government must become despotic, if the other, several states will subsist without even nominal subordination, but in either case the Germanic constitution will be no more.

Sweden, on the contrary, though now seemingly a strenuous assertor of its liberties, is probably only hastening on to despotism. Their senators, while they pretend to vindicate the freedom of the people, are only establishing their own independance. The de­luded people will however at last perceive the miseries of an aristocratical government; they will perceive that the administration of a society of men is ever more painful than that of one only. They will fly from this most oppressive of all forms, where one single member is capable of controlling the whole, to take refuge un­der the throne which will ever be attentive to their complaints. No people long endure an aristocratical [Page 247] government, when they could apply elsewhere for re­dress. The lower orders of people may be enslaved for a time by a number of tyrants, but upon the first opportunity they will ever take a refuge in despotism or democracy.

As the Swedes are making concealed approaches to despotism, the French, on the other hand, are imper­ceptibly vindicating themselves into freedom. When I consider that those parliaments (the members of which are all created by the court, the presidents of which can act only by immediate direction) presume even to mention privileges and freedom, who, till of late, re­ceived directions from the throne with implicit humi­lity; when this is considered, I cannot help fancying that the genius of freedom has entered that kingdom in disguise. If they have but three weak monarchs more, successively on the throne, the mask will be laid aside, and the country will certainly once more be free.

When I compare the figure which the Dutch make in Europe with that they assume in Asia, I am struck with surprize. In Asia, I find them the great Lords of all the Indian seas; in Europe the timid inhabitants of a paltry state. No longer the sons of freedom, but of avarice; no longer assertors of their rights by courage, but by negotiations; fawning on those who insult them, and crouching under the rod of every neighbouring power. Without a friend to save them in distress, and without virtue to save themselves; their government is poor, and their private wealth will serve but to in­vite some neighbouring invader.

I long with impatience for your letters from England, Denmark, Holland, and Italy; yet why wish for rela­tions which only describe new calamities, which shew [Page 248] that ambition and avarice are equally terrible in every region.


From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, first president of the Ceremonial Academy, at Pekin, in China.

I Have frequently admired the manner of criticising in China, where the learned are assembled in a body to judge of every new publication; to examine the merits of the work without knowing the circum­stances of the author, and then to usher it into the world with the proper marks of respect or reprobation.

In England there are no such tribunals erected; but if a man thinks proper to be a judge of genius, few will be at the pains to contradict his pretensions. If any chuse to be critics, it is but saying they are critics; and from that time forward they became invested with full power and authority over every caitiff who aims at their instruction or entertainment.

As almost every member of society has by this means a vote in literary transactions; it is no way sur­prizing to find the rich leading the way here as in other common concerns of life, to see them either bribing the numerous herd of voters by their interest, or brow­beating them by their authority.

A great man says, at his table, that such a book is no bad thing. Immediately the praise is carried off by five flatterers to be dispersed at twelve different coffee­houses, from whence it circulates, still improving as it proceeds, through forty-five houses, where cheaper [Page 249] liquors are sold; from thence it is carried away by the honest tradesman to his own fire-side, where the ap­plause is eagerly caught up by his wife and children who have been long taught to regard his judgment as the standard of perfection. Thus when we have traced a wide extended literary reputation up to its ori­ginal source, we shall find it derived from some great man, who has, perhaps, received all his education and English from a tutor of Berne, or a dancing-master of Picardie.

The English are a people of good sense; and I am the more surprized to find them swayed in their opi­nions, by men who often from, their very education, are incompetent judges. Men who being always bred in affluence, see the world only on one side, are surely improper judges of human nature; they may indeed, describe a ceremony, a pageant or a ball; but how can they pretend to dive into the secrets of the human heart, who have been nursed up only in forms, and daily behold nothing but the same insipid adulation smiling upon every face. Few of them have been bred in that best of schools, the school of adversity; and by what I can learn, fewer still have been bred in any school at all.

From such a description one would think, that a droning Duke, or a Dowager Duchess, was not pos­sessed of more just pretensions to taste than persons of less quality; and yet whatever the one or the other may write or praise, shall pass for perfection, without farther examination. A nobleman has but to take pen, ink, and paper, and write away through three large volumes, and then sign his name to the title page, tho' the whole might have been before more disgusting than [Page 250] his own rent-roll, yet signing his name and title gives value to the deed; title being alone equivalent to taste, imagination, and genius.

As soon as a piece therefore, is published, the first questions are, Who is the author? Does he keep a coach? Where lies his estate? What sort of a table does he keep? If he happens to be poor and unquali­fied for such a scrutiny, he and his works sink into ir­remediable obscurity; and too late he finds, that hav­ing fed upon Turtle is a more ready way to same than having digested Tully.

The poor devil, against whom fashion has set its [...]ace, vainly alledges, that he has been bred in every part of Europe where knowledge was to be sold; that he has grown pale in the study of nature and himself: his works may please upon the perusal, but his preten­sions to fame are intirely disregarded; he is treated like a fidler, whose music, though liked, is not much praised, because he lives by it; while a gentleman per­former, though the most wretched scraper alive, throws the audience into raptures. The fidler indeed may in such a case console himself by thinking, that while the other goes off with all the praise, he runs away with all the money: but here the parallel drops; for while the nobleman triumphs in unmerited applause, the au­thor by profession, steals off with—Nothing.

The poor, therefore, here, who draw their pens auxiliary to the laws of their country, must think themselves very happy if they find, not fame but for­giveness; and yet they are hardly treated; for as every country grows more polite, the press becomes more useful; and writers become more necessary, as readers are supposed to increase. In a polished society, that [Page 251] man, though in rags, who has the power of enforcing virtue from the press, is of, more real use than forty stupid brachmans or bonzes or guebres, though they preached never so often, never so loud, or never so long. That man, though in rags, who is capable of deceiving even indolence into wisdom, and who professes amusement while he aims at reformation, is more use­ful in refined society than twenty cardinals with all their scarlet, and tricked out in all the fopperies of scholastic finery.

To the same.

AS the man in black takes every opportunity of introducing me to such company as may serve to indulge my speculative temper, or gratify my curi­osity; I was by his influence lately invited to a visita­tion dinner. To understand this term, you must know, that it was formerly the custom here for the principal priests to go about the country once a year, and examine upon the spot whether those of subordi­nate orders did their duty, or were qualified for the task; whether their temples were kept in proper re­pair, or the laity pleased with their administration.

Though a visitation of this nature was very useful, yet it was found to be extremely trouble ome, and for many reasons utterly inconvenient; for as the principal priests were obliged to attend at court, in order to so­licit preferment, it was impossible they could at the same time attend in the country, which was quite out of the road to promotion: if we add to this the gout, which has been time immemorial a clerical disorder [Page 252] here, together with the bad wine, and ill dressed pro­visions that must infallibly be served up by the way, it was not strange that the custom has been long discon­tinued. At present, therefore, every head of the church, instead of going about to visit his priests, is satisfied if his priests come in a body once a year to visit him; by this means the duty of half a year is dispatch­ed in a day. When assembled, he asks each in his turn how they have behaved, and are liked; upon which, those who have neglected their duty, or are disagree­able to their congregation, no doubt accuse themselves, and tell him all their faults; for which, he reprimands them most severely.

The thoughts of being introduced into a company of philosophers and learned men, (for as such I con­ceived them) gave me no small pleasure; I expected our entertainment would resemble those sentimental banquets so finely described by Xenophon and Plato; I was hoping some Socrates would be brought in from the door, in order to harangue upon divine love; but as for eating and drinking I had prepared myself to be disappointed in that particular. I was apprized, that fasting and temperance were tenets strongly recom­mended to the professors of Christianity; and I had seen the frugality and mortification of the priests of the east: so that I expected an entertainment where we should have much reasoning, and little meat.

Upon being introduced, I confess I found no great signs of mortification in the faces or persons of the com­pany. However, I imputed their florid looks to tem­perance, and their corpulency to a sedentary way of living. I saw several preparations indeed for dinner, but none for philosophy. The company seemed to [Page 253] gaze upon the table with silent expectation; but this I easily excused. Men of wisdom, thought I, are ever slow of speech; they deliver nothing unadvisedly. Si­lence, says Confucius, is a friend that will never be­tray. They are now probably inventing maxims, or hard sayings, for their mutual instruction, when some one shall think proper to begin.

My curiosity was now wrought up to the highest pitch; I impatiently looked round to see if any were going to interrupt the mighty pause; when, at last, one of the company declared, that there was a sow in his neighbourhood that farrowed fifteen pigs at a litter. This I thought a very preposterous beginning: but just as another was going to second the remark, dinner was served, which interrupted the conversation for that time.

The appearance of dinner, which consisted of a va­riety of dishes, seemed to diffuse new chearfulness upon every face; so that I now expected the philosophical conversation to begin, as they improved in good hu­mour. The principal priest, however, opened his mouth, with only observing, that the venison had not been kept enough, though he had given strict orders for having it killed ten days before. I fear, continued he, it will be found to want the true beathy flavour; you will find nothing of the original wildness in it. A priest, who sate next him, having smelt it and wiped his nose: "Ah, my good lord, cries he, you are too modest, it is perfectly fine; every body knows that no body understands keeping venison with your Lordship." "Ay, and partridges too, interrupted another; I never find them right any where else." His Lord­ship was going to reply, when a third took off the [Page 254] attention of the company, by recommending the pig as inimitable. "I fancy, my Lord, continues he, it has been smothered in its own blood." "If it has been smothered in its blood, cried a facetious member, help­ing himself, we'll now smother it in egg sauce." This poignant piece of humour produced a long loud laugh, which the facetious brother observing, and now that he was in luck, willing to second his blow, assured the company he would tell them a good story about that: "As good a story, cries he, bursting into a violent fit of laughter himself, as ever you heard in your lives; there was a farmer of my parish, who used to sup upon wild ducks and flummery; so this farmer—Doctor Marrowfat, cries his Lordship, interrupting him, give me leave to drink your health—so being fond of wild ducks and flummery—Doctor, adds a gentleman who sate next him, let me advise you to a wing of this turkey;—so this farmer being fond—Hob nob, Doctor, which do you chuse, white or red?—So being fond of wild ducks and flummery;—take care of your band, Sir, it may dip in the gravy. The Doctor, now look­ing round, found not a single eye disposed to listen; wherefore calling for a glass of wine, he gulped down the disappointment and the tale in a bumper.

The conversation now began to be little more than a rhapsody of exclamations; as each had pretty well satisfied his own appetite, he now found sufficient time to press others. Excellent, the very thing; let me recommend the pig, do but taste the bacon; never eat a better thing in my life; exquisite, delicious. This edifying discourse continued thro' three courses, which lasted as many hours, till every one of the com­pany were unable to swallow or utter any thing more.

[Page 255] It is very natural for men who are abridged in one excess, to break into some other. The clergy here, particularly those who are advanced in years, think if they are abstemious with regard to women and wine, they may indulge their other appetites without censure. Thus some are found to rise in the morning only to a consultation with their cook about dinner, and when that has been swallowed, make no other use of their faculties (if they have any) but to ruminate on the suc­ceeding meal.

A debauch in wine is even more pardonable than this, since one glass insensibly leads on to another, and instead of sateing whets the appetite. The progressive steps to it are chearful and seducing; the grave are animated, the melancholy relieved, and there is even classic authority to countenance the excess. But in eating after nature is once satisfied, every additional morsel brings stupidity and distempers with it, and as one of their own poets expresses it,

The soul subsides, and wickedly inclines,
To seem but mortal, even in sound divines.

Let me suppose, after such a meal as this I have been describing, while all the company are sitting in lethargic silence round the table, grunting under a load of soup, pig, pork, and bacon; let me suppose, I say, some hungry beggar, with looks of want, peeping through one of the windows, and thus addressing the assembly, Prithee, pluck those napkins from your chins; after nature is satisfied all that you [...] extraordinary is my property, and I claim it as mine. It was given you in order to relieve me, and not to oppress yourselves. How can they comfort or instruct others who can scarce feel their own existence, except from the unsavoury re­turns [Page 256] of an ill digested meal. But though neither you nor the cushions you sit upon will hear me, yet the world regards the excesses of its teachers with a pry­ing eye, and notes their conduct with double severity. I know no other answer any one of the company could make to such an expostulation, but this: "Friend, you talk of our losing a character, and being disliked by the world; well, and supposing all this to be true, what then! who cares for the world? We'll preach for the world, and the world shall pay us for preach­ing, whether we like each other or not."

From Hingpo to Lien Chi Altangi, by the way of Moscow.

YOU will probably be pleased to see my letter dated from Terki, a city which lies beyond the bounds of the Persian empire: here, blessed with security, with all that is dear, I double my raptures, by communicating them to you; the mind sympathiz­ing with the freedom of the body, my whole soul is dilated in gratitude, love, and praise.

Yet were my own happiness all that inspired my pre­sent joy, my raptures might justly merit the imputa­tion of self-interest; but when I think that the beauti­ful Zelis is also free, forgive my triumph when I boast of having rescued from captivity the most deserving object upon earth.

You remember the reluctance she testified at being obliged to marry the tyrant she hated. Her compliance at last was only feigned, in order to gain time to try [Page 257] some future means of escape. During the interval be­tween her promise and the intended performance of it, she came undiscovered one evening to the place where I generally retired after the fatigues of the day; her appearance was like that of an aerial genius, when, it descends to minister comfort to undeserved distress; the mild lustre of her eye served to banish my timidity; her accents were sweeter than the echo of some distant symphony. "Unhappy stranger, said she, in the Persian language, you here perceive one more wretched than thyself; all this solemnity of preparation, this elegance of dress, and the number of my attendants, serve but to encrease my miseries; if you have courage to rescue an unhappy woman from approaching ruin, and our detested tyrant, you may depend upon my [...]u­ture gratitude." I bowed to the ground, and she left me, filled with rapture and astonishment. Night brought no rest, nor could the ensuing morning calm the anxieties of my mind. I projected a thousand me­thods for her delivery; but each, when strictly exa­mined, appeared impracticable; in this uncertainty the evening again arrived, and I placed myself on my for­mer station in hopes of a repeated visit. After some short expectation, the bright perfection again appeared; I bowed, as before, to the ground; when raising me up she observed, that the time was not to be spent in useless ceremony; she observed that the day following was appointed for the celebration of her nuptials, and that something was to be done that very night for our mutual deliverance. I offered with the utmost humi­lity to pursue whatever scheme she should direct; upon which she proposed that instant to scale the garden wall, adding, that she had prevailed upon a female slave, who was now waiting at the appointed place, to assist her with a ladder.

[Page 258] Pursuant to this information I led her trembling to the place appointed; but instead of the slave we ex­pected to see, Mostadad himself was there awaiting our arrival; the wretch in whom we confided, it seems, had betrayed our design to her master, and he now saw the most convincing proofs of her informa­tion. He was just going to draw his sabre, when a principle of avarice repressed his fury, and he resolved, after a severe chastisement, to dispose of me to another master, in the mean time ordering me to be confined in the stricteit manner, and the next day to receive an hundred blows on the soles of my feet.

When the morning came I was led out in order to receive the punishment, which, from the severity with which it is generally inflicted upon slaves, is worse e­ven than death.

A trumpet was to be a signal for the solemnization of the nuptials of Zelis, and for the infliction of my punishment. Each ceremony to me equally dreadful was just going to begin, when we were informed that a large party of Circassian Tartars had invaded the town, and were laying all in ruin. Every person now thought of saving himself; I instantly unloosed the cords with which I was bound, and seizing a scymetar from one of the slaves who had not courage to resist me, flew to the women's apartment where Zelis was confined, dressed out for the intended nuptials. I bade her follow me without delay; and going forward, cut my way through eunuchs, who made but a faint re­sistance. The whole city was now a scene of confla­gration and terror; every person was willing to save himself, unmindful of others. In this confusion seiz­ing upon two of the fleetest coursers in the stables of [Page 259] Mostadad, we fled northward towards the kingdom of Circassia As there were several others flying in the same manner, we passed without notice, and in three days arrived at Terki, a city that lies in a valley within the bosom of the [...]owning mountains of Caucasus.

Here, free from every apprehension of danger, we enjoy all those satisfactions which are consistent with virtue; though I find my heart at intervals give way to unusual passions, yet such is my admiration for my fair companion, that I lose even tenderness in distant respect. Though her person demands particular re­gard even among the beauties of Circassia, yet is her mind far more lovely. How very different is a woman who thus has cultivated her understanding, and been refined into delicacy of sentiment, from the daughters of the east, whose education is only formed to improve the person, and make them more tempting objects of prostitution!


From Hingpo to Lien Chi Altangi, by way of Moscow.

WHEN sufficiently refreshed after the fatigues of our precipitate flight, my curiosity, which had been restrained by the appearance of immediate danger, now began to revive: I longed to know by what distressful accidents my fair fugitive became a captive, and could not avoid testifying a surprize how so much beauty could be involved in the calamities from whence she had been so lately rescued.

Talk not of personal charms, cried she with emo­tion, [Page 260] since to them I owe every misfortune: look round on the numberless beauties of the country where we are; and see how nature has poured its charms upon every face, and yet by this profusion heaven would seem to shew how little it regards such a blessing, since the gift is lavished upon a nation of prostitutes.

I perceive you desire to know my story, and your curiosity is not so great as my impatience to gratify it: I find a pleasure in telling past misfortunes to any, but when my deliverer is pleased with the relation, my pleasure is prompted by duty.

"I was born in a country far to the west, where the men are braver, and the women more fair than those of Circassia; where the valour of the hero is guided by wisdom, and where delicacy of sentiment points the shafts of female beauty. I was the only daughter of an officer in the army, the child of his age, and as he used fondly to express it, the only chain that bound him to the world, or made his life pleasing. His station procured him an acquaint­ance with men of greater rank and fortune than himself, and his regard for me induced him to bring me into every family where he was acquainted: Thus I was early taught all the elegancies and fashionable foibles of such as the world calls polite, and though without fortune myself, was taught to despise those who lived as if they were poor.

My intercourse with the great, and my affectation of grandeur procured me many lovers; but want of fortune deterred them all from any other views than [Page 261] those of passing the present moment agreeably, or of meditating my future ruin. In every company I found myself addressed in a warmer strain of passion, than o­ther ladies who were superior in point of rank and beauty; and this I imputed to an excess of respect, which in reality proceeded from very different motives.

Among the number of such as paid me their ad­dresses, was a gentleman, a friend of my father, rather in the decline of life, with nothing remarkable either in his person or address to recommend him. His age which was about forty, his fortune which was mode­rate, and barely sufficient to support him, served to throw me off my guard, so that I considered him as the only sincere admirer I had.

Designing lovers in the decline of life are ever most dangerous. Skilled in all the weaknesses of the sex, they seize each favourable opportunity, and by having less passion than youthful admirers, have less real respect, and therefore less timidity. This insidious wretch used a thousand arts to succeed in his base designs, all which I saw, but imputed to different views, because I thought it absurd to believe the real motives.

As he continued to frequent my father's, the friendship between them became every day greater; and at last from the intimacy with which he was re­ceived, I was taught to look upon him as a guardian and a friend. Though I never loved, yet I esteem­ed him; and this was enough to make me wish for an union, for which he seemed desirous, but to which he feigned several delays; while in the mean time, from a false report of our being married, every other admirer forsook me.

[Page 262] I was at last however awakened from the delusion, by an account of his being just married to another young lady with a considerable fortune. This was no great mortification to me, as I had always regard­ed him merely from prudential motives; but it had a very different effect upon my father, who, rash and passionate by nature, and besides stimulated by a mis­taken notion of military honour, upbraided his friend in such terms, that a challenge was soon given and ac­cepted.

It was about midnight when I was awakened by a message from my father, who desired to see me that moment. I rose with some surprize, and following the messenger, attended only by another servant, came to a field not far from the house, where I found him, the assertor of my honour, my only friend and sup­porter, the tutor and companion of my youth, lying on one side covered over with blood, and just expiring. No tears streamed down my cheeks, nor sigh escaped from my breast at an object of such terror. I sat down, and supporting his aged head in my lap gazed upon the ghastly visage with an agony more poignant even than despairing madness. The servants were gone for more assistance. In this gloomy stillness of the night no sounds were heard but his agonizing re­spirations; no object was presented but his wounds, which still continued to stream. With silent anguish I hung over his dear face, and with my hands strove to stop the blood as it flowed from his wounds; he seemed at first insensible, but at last turning his dy­ing eyes upon me, "My dear, dear child, cried he, dear, though you have forgotten your own honour and stained mine, I will yet forgive you; by abandoning [Page 263] virtue you have undone me and yourself, yet take my forgiveness with the same compassion I wish heaven may pity me." He expired. All my succeeding hap­piness fled with him. Reflecting that I was the cause of his death whom only I loved upon earth; accused of betraying the honour of his family with his latest breath; conscious of my own innocence, yet with­out even a possibility of vindicating it; without for­tune or friends to relieve or pity me, abandoned to infamy and the wide censuring world, I called out up­on the dead body that lay stretched before me, and in the agony of my heart asked why he could have left me thus? Why, my dear, my only pappa, why could you ruin me thus and yourself for ever ! O pity, and return, since there is none but you to comfort me.

I soon found that I had real cause for sorrow; that I was to expect no compassion from my own sex, not assistance from the other; and that reputation was much more useful in our commerce with mankind than really to deserve it. Wherever I came, I per­ceived myself received either with contempt or detesta­tion; or whenever I was civilly treated, it was from the most base and ungenerous motives.

Thus driven from the society of the virtuous, I was at last, in order to dispell the anxieties of insupporta­ble solitude, obliged to take up with the company of those whose characters were blasted like my own; but who perhaps deserved their infamy. Among this num­ber was a lady of the first distinction, whose charac­ter the public thought proper to brand even with greater infamy than mine. A similitude of distress soon united us; I knew that general reproach had made her miserable; and I had learned to regard mi­sery [Page 264] as an excuse for guilt. Though this lady had not virtue enough to avoid reproach, yet she had too much delicate sensibility not to feel it. She therefore propos­ed our leaving the country where we were born, and going to live in Italy, where our characters and misfor­tunes would be unknown. With this I eagerly com­plied, and we soon found ourselves in one of the most charming retreats in the most beautiful province of that inchanting country.

Had my companion chosen this as a retreat for in­jured virtue, an harbour where we might look with tranquillity on the distant angry world, I should have been happy; but very different was her design; she had pitch'd upon this situation only to enjoy those plea­sures in private, which she had not sufficient effrontery to satisfy in a more open manner. A nearer acquaint­ance soon shewed me the vicious part of her character; her mind as well as her body seemed formed only for pleasure; she was sentimental only as it served to pro­tract the immediate enjoyment. Formed for society a­lone, she spoke infinitely better than she wrote, and wrote infinitely better than she lived. A person devoted to pleasure often leads the most miserable life imaginable; such was her case; she considered the natural moments of languor as insupportable, passed all her hours between rapture and anxiety; ever in an extreme of agony or of bliss. She felt a pain as sin­cere for want of appetite, as the starving wretch who wants a meal. In those intervals she usually kept her bed, and rose only when in expectation of some new enjoy­ment. The luxuriant air of the country, the roman­tic situation of her palace, and the genius of a people whose only happiness lies in sensual refinement, all contributed to banish the remembrance of her native country.

[Page 265] But tho' such a life gave her pleasure, it had a very different effect upon me; I grew every day more pen­sive, and my melancholy was regarded as an insult up­on her good humour: I now perceived myself entirely unfit for all society; discarded from the good, and detest­ing the infamous, I seemed in a state of war with every rank of people: that virtue which should have been my protection in the world, was here my crime: in short, detesting life, I was determined to become a recluse, to leave a world where I found no plea­sure that could allure me to stay. Thus determined, I am embarked in order to go by sea to Rome, where I intend to take the veil; but even in so short a pas­sage my hard fortune still attended me; our ship was taken by a Barbary corsair; the whole crew, and I among the number, being made slaves. It carries too much the air of romance to inform you of my distresses or obstinacy in this miserable state; it is enough to observe that I have been bought by several masters, each of whom perceiving my reluctance, rather than use violence, sold me to another, till it was my hap­piness to be at last rescued by you."

Thus ended her relation, which I have abridg'd, but as soon as we are arrived at Moscow, for which we intend to set out shortly, you shall be informed of all more particularly. In the mean time, the great­est addition to my happiness will to be to hear of yours.


From Lien Chi Altangi to Hingpo.

THE news of your freedom lifts the load of for­mer anxiety from my mind; I can now think [Page 266] of my son without regret, applaud his resignation un­der calamity, and his conduct in extricating himself from it.

You are now free, just let loose from the bondage of an hard master: this is the crisis of your fate; and as you now manage fortune, succeeding life will be marked with happiness or misery; a few years per­severance in prudence, which at your age is but ano­ther name for virtue, will ensure comfort, pleasure, tranquillity, esteem; too eager an enjoyment of every good that now offers, will reverse the medal, and pre­sent you poverty, anxiety, remorse, contempt.

As it has been observed that none are better qualifi­ed to give others advice, than those who have taken the least of it themselves; so in this respect I find my­self perfectly authorized to offer mine, even though I should wave my paternal authority upon this occasion.

The most usual way among young men who have no resolution of their own, is first to ask one friend's advice and follow it for some time; then to ask ad­vice of another, and turn to that; so of a third, still unsteady, always changing. However, be assured that every change of this nature is for the worse; people may tell you of your being unfit for some pecu­liar occupations in life; but heed them not; what­ever employment you follow with perseverance and assiduity, will be found fit for you; it will be your support in youth, and comfort in age. In learning the useful part of every profession, very moderate a­bilities will suffice; even if the mind be a little balanc­ed with stupidity, it may in this case be useful. Great abilities have always been less serviceable to the posses­sors [Page 267] than moderate ones. Life has been compared to a race, but the allusion still improves, by observing that the most swift are ever the least manageable.

To know one profession only, is enough for one man to know; and this (whatever the professors may tell you to the contrary) is soon learned. Be contented therefore with one good employment; for if you un­derstand two at a time, people will give you business in neither.

A conjurer and a taylor once happened to converse together. Alas, cries the taylor, what an unhappy poor creature am I; if people should ever take it in their heads to live without cloaths I am undone; I have no other trade to have recourse to. Indeed, friend, I pity you sincerely, replies the conjurer; but, thank heaven, things are not quite so bad with me; for if one trick should fail, I have a hundred tricks more for them yet. However, if at any time you are reduced to beggary, apply to me, and I will relieve you. A famine over spread the land; the taylor made a shift to live, because his customers could not be with­out cloaths; but the poor conjurer, with all his hundred tricks, could find none that had money to throw away: it was in vain that he promised to eat fire, or to vomit pins; no single creature would re­lieve him, till he was at last obliged to beg from the very taylor whose calling he had formerly despised.

There are no obstructions more fatal to fortune than pride and resentment. If you must resent injuries at all, at least suppress your indignation until you become rich, and then shew away; the resentment of a poor man is like the efforts of a harmless insect to sting; it [Page 268] may get him crushed, but cannot defend him. Who values that anger which is consumed only in empty menaces?

Once upon a time a goose fed its young by a pond side; and a goose in such circumstances is always extremely proud, and excessive punctilious. If any other animal without the least design to offend, happened to pass that way, the goose was immediate­ly at him. The pond, she said, was hers, and she would maintain a right in it, and support her honour, while she had a bill to hiss, or a wing to flutter. In this manner she drove away ducks, pigs, and chickens; nay, even the insidious cat was seen to scamper. A lounging mastiff, however, happened to pass by, and thought it no harm if he should lap a little of the wa­ter, as he was thirsty. The guardian goose flew at him like a fury, pecked at him with her beak, and slapped him with her feathers. The dog grew angry, had twenty times a good mind to give her a sly snap; but suppressing his indignation, because his master was nigh, A pox take thee, cries he, for a fool, sure those who have neither strength nor weapons to fight, at least should be civil; that fluttering and hissing of thine may one day get thine head snapt off, but it can neither injure thy enemies, or ever protect thee. So saying, he went forward to the pond, quenched his thirst, in spite of the goose, and followed his master.

Another obstruction to the fortune of youth is, that while they are willing to take offence from none, they are also equally desirous of giving none offence. From hence they endeavour to please all, comply with every request, attempt to suit themselves to every company; have no will of their own, but like wax catch every [Page 269] contiguous impression. By thus attempting to give universal satisfaction, they at last find themselves misera­bly disappointed; to bring the generality of admirers on our side, it is sufficient to attempt pleasing a very few.

A painter of eminence was once resolved to finish a piece which should please the whole world. When, therefore, he had drawn a picture, in which his ut­most skill was exhausted, it was exposed in the pub­lic market-place, with directions at the bottom for every spectator to mark with a brush, which lay by, every limb, and feature, which seemed erroneous. The spectators came, and in general applauded; but each, willing to shew his talent at criticism, marked whatever he thought proper. At evening, when the painter came, he was mortified to find the whole picture one universal blot; not a single stroke that was not stigmatized with marks of disapprobation: not satisfied with this trial, the next day he was re­solved to try them in a different manner, and exposing his picture as before, desired that every spectator would mark those beauties he approved or admired. The people complied, and the artist returning, found his picture replete with the marks of beauty; every stroke that had been yesterday condemned now re­ceived the character of approbation. Well, cries the painter, I now find that the best way to please one half of the world, is not to mind what the other half says; since what are faults in the eyes of these, shall be by those regarded as beauties.


From the same.

A Character, such as you have represented that of your fair companion, which continues virtu­ous, though loaded with infamy, is truly great. Many regard virtue because it is attended with applause; your favourite only for the internal pleasure it confers. I have often wished that ladies like her were proposed as models for female imitation, and not such as have ac­quired fame by qualities repugnant to the natural soft­ness of the sex.

Women famed for their valour, their skill in poli­tics, or their learning, leave the duties of their own sex, in order to invade the privileges of ours. I can no more pardon a fair one for endeavouring to wield the club of Hercules, than I could him for attempting to twirl her distaff.

The modest virgin, the prudent wife, or the careful matron are much more serviceable in life than petti­coated philosophers, blustering heroines, or virago queens. She who makes her husband and her children happy, who reclaims the one from vice, and trains up the other to virtue, is a much greater character than ladies described in romance, whose whole occupation is to murder mankind with shafts from their quiver or their eyes.

Women, it has been observed, are not naturally formed for great cares themselves, but to soften ours. Their tenderness is the proper reward for the dangers we undergo for their preservation; and the ease and [Page 271] chearfulness of their conversation, our desirable retreat from the fatigues of intense application. They are confined within the narrow limits of domestick assidui­ty; and when they stray beyond them, they move be­yond their sphere, and consequently without grace.

Fame therefore has been very unjustly dispensed, among the female sex. Those who least deserved to be remembered, meet our admiration and applause; while many, who have been an honour to humanity, are passed over in silence. Perhaps no age has pro­duced a stronger instance of misplaced fame than the present; the Semiramis and the Thalestris of antiquity are talked of, while a modern character, infinitely greater than either, is unnoticed and unknown.

* Catharina Alexowna, born near Derpat, a little city in Livonia, was heir to no other inheritance than the virtues and frugality of her parents. Her father being dead, she lived with her aged mother, in their cottage covered with straw; and both, though very poor, were very contented. Here, retired from the gaze of the world, by the labour of her hands, she supported her parent, who was now incapable of sup­porting herself. While Catharina spun, the old wo­man would sit by, and read some book of devotion; thus when the fatigues of the day were over, both would sit down contentedly by their fire-side, and en­joy the frugal meal with vacant festivity.

Though her face and person were models of per­fection, yet her whole attention seemed bestowed upon [Page 272] her mind; her mother taught her to read, and an old Lutheran minister instructed her in the maxims and duties of religion. Nature had furnished her not only with a ready but a solid turn of thought, not only with a strong but a right understanding. Such truly female accomplishments procured her several solicitations of marriage from the peasants of the country; but their offers were refused: for she loved her mother too ten­derly to think of a separation.

Catharina was fifteen when her mother died; she now therefore left her cottage, and went to live with the Lutheran minister, by whom she had been in­structed from her childhood. In his house she resided, in quality of governess to his children; at once recon­ciling in her character unerring prudence with surpri­sing vivacity.

The old man, who regarded her as one of his own children, had her instructed in dancing and music by the masters who attended the rest of his family; thus she continued to improve till he died, by which acci­dent she was once more reduced to pristine poverty. The country of Livonia was at this time wasted by war, and lay in a most miserable state of desolation. Those calamities are ever most heavy upon the poor; wherefore Catharina, though possessed of so many ac­complishments, experienced all the miseries of hopeless indigence. Provisions becoming every day more scarce, and her private stock being entirely exhausted, she re­solved at last to travel to Marienburgh, a city of grea­ter plenty.

With her scanty wardrobe, packed up in a wallet, she set out on her journey on foot: she was to walk [Page 273] through a region miserable by nature, but rendered still more hideous by the Swedes and Russians, who, as each happened to become masters, plundered it at dis­cretion: but hunger had taught her to despise the dan­gers and fatigues of the way.

One evening, upon her journey, as she had entered a cottage by the way-side, to take up her lodging for the night, she was insulted by two Swedish soldiers, who insisted upon qualifying her, as they termed it, to follow the camp. They might, probably have car­ried their insults into violence, had not a subaltern offi­cer, accidentally passing by, come in to her assistance: upon his appearing, the soldiers immediately desisted; but her thankfulness was hardly greater than her sur­prise, when she instantly recollected in her deliverer, the son of the Lutheran minister, her former instructor, benefactor, and friend.

This was an happy interview for Catharina: the little stock of money she had brought from home was by this time quite exhausted; her cloaths were gone, piece by piece, in order to satisfy those who had enter­tained her in their houses; her generous countryman, therefore, parted with what he could spare, to buy her cloaths, furnished her with an horse, and gave her let­ters of recommendation to Mr. Gluck, a faithful friend of his father's, and superintendant of Marienburgh.

Our beautiful stranger had only to appear, to be well received; she was immediately admitted into the Su­perintendant's family, as governess to his two daugh­ters; and though yet but seventeen, shewed herself capable of instructing her sex not only in virtue, but [Page 274] politeness. Such was her good sense and beauty, that her master himself in a short time offered her his hand, which to his great surprize she thought proper to refuse. Actuated by a principle of gratitude, she was resolved to marry her deliverer only, even though he had lost an arm, and was otherwise disfigured by wounds in the service.

In order therefore to prevent further solicitations from others, as soon as the officer came to town upon duty, she offered him her person, which he accepted with transport, and their nuptials were solemnized as usual. But all the lines of her fortune were to be striking: the very day on which they were married the Russians laid siege to Marienburgh; the unhappy soldier had now no time to enjoy the well earned plea­sures of matrimony; he was called off before consum­mation to an attack, from which he was never after seen to return.

In the mean time the siege went on with fury, ag­gravated on one side by obstinacy, on the other by revenge. This war between the two northern powers at that time was truly barbarous; the innocent peasant and the harmless virgin often shared the fate of the sol­dier in arms. Marienburgh was taken by assault; and such was the fury of the assailants, that not only the garrison, but almost all the inhabitants, men, women, and children, were put to the sword; at length when the carnage was pretty well over, Catharina was found hid in an oven.

She had been hitherto poor, but still was free: she was now to conform to her hard fate, and learn what [Page 275] it was to be a slave: in this situation, however, she behaved with piety and humility; and though misfor­tunes had abated her vivacity, yet she was chearful. The fame of her merit and resignation reached even Prince Menzikoff, the Russian General; he desired to see her, was struck with her beauty, bought her from the soldier, her master, and placed her under the di­rection of his own sister. Here she was treated with all the respect which her merit deserved, while her beauty every day improved with her good fortune.

She had not been long in this situation, when Peter the Great paying the Prince a visit, Catharina happened to come in with some dry fruits, which she served round with peculiar modesty. The mighty Monarch saw, and was struck with her beauty. He returned the next day, called for the beautiful slave, asked her several questions, and found her understanding even more per­fect than her person.

He had been forced when young to marry from mo­tives of interest, he was now resolved to marry pur­suant to his own inclinations. He immediately en­quired the history of the fair Livonian, who was not yet eighteen. He traced her through the vale of ob­scurity, through all the vicissitudes of her fortune, and found her truly great in them all. The meanness of her birth was no obstruction to his design; their nup­tials were solemnized in private; the Prince assuring his courtiers, that virtue alone was the properest ladder to a throne.

We now see Catharina, from the low mud-walled cottage, Empress of the greatest kingdom upon earth. [Page 276] The poor solitary wanderer is now surrounded by thousands, who find happiness in her smile. She, who formerly wanted a meal, is now capable of diffusing plenty upon whole nations. To her fortune she owed a part of this preheminence, but to her virtues more.

She ever after retained those great qualities which first placed her on a throne; and while the extraordi­nary Prince, her husband, laboured for the reforma­tion of his male subjects, she studied in her turn the improvement of her own sex. She altered their dresses, introduced mixed assemblies, instituted an order of fe­male knighthood; and, at length, when she had great­ly filled all the stations of Empress, friend, wife, and mother, bravely died without regret; regretted by all.


End of the FIRST VOLUME.

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