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continued, till an intrigue, with which loaded their disciples with constraint, the world seems hitherto unacquainted, without adding to their real felicity. obliged him to quit that country.
If I find pleasure in dancing, how ridiown happiness, the happiness of the culous would it be in me to prescribe such monarch, of his sister, of a part of the an amusement for the entertainment of a court, rendered his departure necessary, cripple: should he, on the other hand,
Tired at length of courts and all the place his chief delight in painting, yet follies of the great, he retired to Switz- would he be absurd in recommending the erland, a country of liberty, where he same relish to one who had lost the power enjoyed tranquillity and the muse. Here, of distinguishing colours. General directhough without any taste for magnificence tions are, therefore, commonly useless: and himself, he usually entertained at his table to be particular would exhaust volumes, the learned and polite of Europe, who since each individual may require a parwere attracted by a desire of seeing a ticular system of precepts to direct his person from whom they had received so choice. much satisfaction. The entertainment Every mind seems capable of enterwas conducted with the utmost elegance, taining a certain quantity of happiness, and the conversation was that of phi- which no institutions can increase, no cirlosophers. Every country that at once cumstances alter, and entirely independent united liberty and science were his pecu- of fortune. Let any man compare his liar favourites. The being an Englishman present fortune with the past, and he will was to him a character that claimed probably find himself, upon the whole, admiration and respect.
neither better nor worse than formerly. Between Voltaire and the disciples of Gratified ambition, or irreparable calaConfucius there are many differences ; mity, may produce transient sensations however, being of a different opinion does of pleasure or distress. Those storms not in the least diminish my esteem: I may discompose in proportion as they am not displeased with my brother, be- are strong, or the mind is pliant to their cause he happens to ask our father for impression. But the soul, though at first favours in a different manner from me. lifted up by the event, is every day ope. Let his errors rest in peace; his excel- rated upon with diminished influence, and lencies deserve admiration : let me with at length subsides into the level of its the wise admire his wisdom; let the en- usual tranquillity. Should some unexvious and the ignorant ridicule his foibles : pected turn of fortune take thee from the folly of others is ever most ridiculous fetters, and place thee on a throne, exulto those who are themselves most foolish. tation would be natural upon the change; -Adieu.
but the temper, like the face, would soon resume its native serenity.
Every wish, therefore, which leads us LETTER XLIV.
to expect happiness somewhere else but From Lien Chi Altangi to Hingpo, a Slave where we are, every institution which in Persia.
teaches us that we should be better by It is impossible to form a philosophic being possessed of something new, which system of happiness which is adapted to promises to lift us a step higher than we every condition in life, since every person are, only lays a foundation for uneasiness, who travels in this great pursuit takes because it contracts debts which we cana separate road. The differing colours not repay; it calls that a good, which, which suit different complexions are not when we have found it, will in fact add more various than the different pleasures nothing to our happiness. appropriated to particular minds. The To enjoy the present, without regret various sects who have pretended to give for the past, or solicitude for the future, lessons to instruct men in happiness has been the advice rather of poets than have described their own particular sensa philosophers. And yet the precept seems țions, without considering ours; have only | more rational than is generally imagined.
It is the only general precept respecting enjoy, and therefore regret ; and before, the pursuit of happiness, that can be we see pleasures which we languish to applied with propriety to every condition possess, and are consequently uneasy till of life. The man of pleasure, the man we possess them. Was there any method of business, and the philosopher, are of seizing the present, unembittered by equally interested in its disquisition. If such reflections, then would our state be we do not find happiness in the present tolerably easy. moment, in what shall we find it ? either This, indeed, is the endeavour of all in reflecting on the past, or prognostica- mankind, who, untutored by philosophy, ting the future. But let us see how these pursue as much as they can a life of are capable of producing satisfaction. amusement and dissipation. Every rank
A remembrance of what is past and in life, and every size of understanding, an anticipation of what is to come seem seems to follow this alone ; or not purto be the two faculties by which man suing it, deviates from happiness. The differs most from other animals. Though man of pleasure pursues dissipation by brutes enjoy them in a limited degree, profession ; the man of business pursues yet their whole life seems taken up in the it not less, as every voluntary labour he present, regardless of the past and the undergoes is only dissipation in disguise. future. Man, on the contrary, endeavours The philosopher himself, even while he to derive his happiness, and experiences reasons upon the subject, does it une most of his miseries, from these two knowingly, with a view of dissipating
the thoughts of what he was, or what he Is this superiority of reflection a pre must be. rogative of which we should boast, and The subject, therefore, comes to this : for which we should thank nature ? or Which is the most perfect sort of disis it a misfortune of which we should sipation, -pleasure, business, or philo. complain, and be humble? Either from sophy? Which best serves to exclude the abuse, or from the nature of things, those uneasy sensations which memory it certainly makes our condition more or anticipation produce ? miserable.
The enthusiasm of pleasure charms Had we a privilege of calling up, by only by intervals. The highest rapture the power of memory, only such passages lasts only for a moment; and all the as were pleasing, unmixed with such as senses seem so combined, as to be soon were disagreeable, we might then excite, tired into languor by the gratification of at pleasure, an ideal happiness, perhaps any one of them. It is only among the more poignant than actual sensation. poets we hear of men changing to one But this is not the case : the past is never delight, when satiated with another. In represented without some disagreeable nature it is very different : the glutton, circumstance, which tarnishes all its when sated with the full meal, is unbeauty; the remembrance of an evil qualified to feel the real pleasure of carries in it nothing agreeable, and to drinking; the drunkard, in turn, finds remember a good is always accompanied few of those transports which lovers boast with regret. Thus we lose more than we in enjoyment; and the lover, when cloyed, gain by the remembrance.
finds a diminution of every other appetite. And we shall find our expectation of Thus, after a full indulgence of any one the future to be a gift more distressful sense, the man of pleasure finds a languor even than the former. To fear an ap- in all, is placed in a chasm between past proaching evil is certainly a most dis- and expected enjoyment, perceives an agreeable sensation; and in expecting interval which must be filled up. The an approaching good we experience the present can give no satisfaction, because inquietude of wanting actual possession. he has already robbed it of every charm :
Thus, whichever way we look, the a mind thus left without immediate emprospect is disagreeable. Behind, we ployment naturally recurs to the past or have left pleasures we shall never more future: the reflector finds that he was
happy, and knows that he cannot be so This is impossible to the man of pleasure ; now, he sees that he may yet be happy, it is difficult to the man of business; and wishes the hour was come: thus and is in some measure attainable by the every period of his continuance is miser- philosopher. Happy were we all born phiable, except that very short one of imme. losophers, all born with a talent of thus diate gratification. Instead of a life of dissipating our own cares, by spreading dissipation, none has more frequent con- them upon all mankind !--Adieu. versations with disagreeable self than he : his enthusiasms are but few and transient;
LETTER XLV. his appetites, like angry creditors, continually making fruitless demands for From Lien Chi Altangi to Fum Hoam, First what he is unable to pay; and the greater
President of the Ceremonial Academy at his former pleasures, the more strong his
Pekin, in China. regret, the more impatient his expecta- Though the frequent invitations I receive tions. A life of pleasure is therefore the from men of distinction here might excite most unpleasing life in the world. the vanity of some, I am quite mortified,
Habit has rendered the man of business however, when I consider the motives that more cool in his desires ; he finds less inspire their civility. I am sent for not regret for past pleasures, and less solicitude to be treated as a friend, but to satisfy for those to come. The life he now leads, curiosity; not to be entertained so much though tainted in some measure with as wondered at ; the same earnestness hope, is yet not afflicted so strongly with which excites them to see a Chinese would regret, and is less divided between short- have made them equally proud of a visit lived rapture and lasting anguish. The from the rhinoceros. pleasures he has enjoyed are not so vivid, From the highest to the lowest, this and those he has to expect cannot conse- people seem fond of sights and monsters. quently create so much anxiety.
I am told of a person here who gets a The philosopher, who extends his regard very comfortable livelihood by making to all mankind, must still have a smaller wonders, and then selling or showing them concern for what has already affected, or to the people for money : no matter how may hereafter affect, himself: the con insignificant they were in the beginning, cerns of others make his whole study, by locking them up close, and showing and that study is his pleasure ; and this for money, they soon become prodipleasure is continuing in its nature, be- gies!. His first essay in this way was to cause it can be changed at will, leaving exhibit himself as a wax-work figure but few of these anxious intervals which behind a glass door at a puppet show. are employed in remembrance or antici. Thus, keeping the spectators at a proper pation. The philosopher by this means distance, and having his head adorned feads a life of almost continued dissipa- with a copper crown, he looked extremely tion ; and reflection, which makes the “natural, and very like the life itself." He uneasiness and misery of others, serves as continued this exhibition with success, till a companion and instructor to him. an involuntary fit of sneezing brought him
In a word, positive happiness is consti- to life before all the spectators, and contutional, and incapable of increase; misery sequently rendered him for that time as is artificial, and generally proceeds from entirely useless as the peaceable inhabitant our folly. Philosophy can add to our of a catacomb. happiness in no other manner but by Determined to act the statue no more, he diminishing our misery: it should not next levied contributions under the figure pretend to increase our present stock, but of an Indian king ; and by painting his make us economists of what we are pos- face, and counterfeiting the savage howl, sessed of. The great source of calamity he frighted several ladies and children lies in regret or anticipation : he, therefore, with amazing success : in this manner, is most wise who thinks of the present therefore, he might have lived very comalone, regardless of the past or the future. I fortably, had he not been arrested for a But being
debt that was contracted when he was scarcely get employment. the figure in wax-work : thus his face obliged, by an accident, to have both her underwent an involuntary ablution, and hands cut off from the elbows, what would he found himself reduced to his primitive in another country have been her ruin complexion and indigence.
made her fortune here: she was now After some time, being freed from gaol, thought more fit for her trade than before; he was now grown wiser, and instead of business flowed in apace, and all people making himself a wonder, was resolved paid for seeing the mantua-maker who only to make wonders. He learned the wrought without hands. art of pasting up mummies; was never at A gentleman, showing me his collection a loss for an artificial lusus nature : nay, of pictures, stopped at one with peculiar it has been reported, that he has sold seven admiration : “ There," cries he," is an petrified lobsters of his own manufac- inestimable piece.” I gazed at the picture ture to a noted collector of rarities : but for some time, but could see none of those this the learned Cracovius Putridus has graces with which he seemed enraptured ; undertaken to refute in a very elaborate it appeared to me the most paltry piece of dissertation.
the whole collection: I therefore demanded His last wonder was nothing more than where those beauties lay, of which I was an halter; yet by this halter he gained more yet insensible. “Sir, cries he, “the than by all his former exhibitions. The merit does not consist in the piece, but in people, it seems, had got it in their heads, the manner in which it was done. The that a certain noble criminal was to be painter drew the whole with his foot, and hanged with
Now there held the pencil between his toes : I bought was nothing they so much wished to see it at a very great price; for peculiar merit as this very rope ; and he was resolved to should ever be rewarded." gratify their curiosity : he therefore got But these people are not more fond of one made, not only of silk, but to render wonders, than liberal in rewarding those it more striking, several threads of gold who show them. From the wonderful were iiftermixed. The people paid their dog of knowledge, at present under the money only to see silk, but were highly patronage of the nobility, down to the man satisfied when they found it was mixed with the box, who professes to show “the with gold into the bargain. It is scarce best imitation of Nature that was ever necessary to mention, that the projector seen,” they all live in luxury. A singing sold his silken rope for almost what it had woman shall collect subscriptions in her cost him, as soon as the criminal was own coach and six; a fellow shall make a known to be hanged in hempen materials. fortune by tossing a straw from his toe to
By their fondness of sights one would his nose; one in particular has found that be apt to imagine that, instead of desiring eating fire was the most ready way to live; to see things as they should be, they are and another, who jingles several bells rather solicitous of seeing them as they fixed to his cap, is the only man that I ought not to be. A cat with four legs is know of who has received emolument disregarded, though never so useful; but from the labours of his head. if it has but two, and is consequently A young author, a man of good-nature incapable of catching mice, it is reckoned and learning, was complaining to me some inestimable, and every man of taste is ready nights ago of this misplaced generosity of to raise the auction. A man, though in the times. “Here,” says he, “have I his person faultless as an aërial genius, spent part of my youth in attempting to might starve; but if stuck over with instruct and amuse my fellow-creatures, hideous warts like a porcupine, his fortune and all my reward has been solitude, is made for ever, and he may propagate poverty, and reproach; while a fellow, the breed with impunity and applause. possessed of even the smallest share of
A good woman in my neighbourhcod, fiddling merit, or who has perhaps learned who was bred a habit-maker, though she to whistle double, is rewarded, applauded; handled her needle tolerably well, could and caressed !”—“Prithee, young man,'
says I to him,
are you ignorant, that in we happen to peep over a lady's shoulder so large a city as this it is better to be an while dressing, we might be able to see amusing than a useful member of society? neither gaming nor ill-nature; neither Can you leap up, and touch your feet four pride, debauchery, nor a love of gadding. times before you come to the ground ?”. We should find her, if any sensible defect “No, sir."
"Can you pimp for a man of appeared in the mind, more careful in recquality?"--"No, sir.”- Can you stand tifying it, than plastering up the irreparable upon two horses at full speed ?”- No, decays of the person; nay, I am even apt
you swallow a penknife?”. to fancy, that ladies would find more real “I can do none of these tricks." “Why pleasure in this utensil in private, than in then,” cried I, “there is no other prudent any other bauble imported from China, means of subsistence left, but to apprise though never so expensive or amusing. the town that you speedily intend to eat up your own nose by subscription.”
LETTER XLVI. I have frequently regretted that none of our Eastern posture-masters, or showmen,
To the same. have ever ventured to England. I should UPON finishing my last letter I retired to be pleased to see that money circulate in rest, reflecting upon the wonders of the Asia, which is now sent to Italy and glass of Lao, wishing to be possessed of France, in order to bring their vagabonds one here, and resolved in such case to hither. Several of our tricks would un- oblige every lady with a sight of it for doubtedly give the English high satisfac- nothing. What fortune denied me waking, tion. Men of fashion would be greatly fancy supplied in a dream : the glass, I pleased with the postures as well as know not how, was put into my possession, the condescension of our dancing girls; and I could perceive several ladies apand the ladies would equally admire the proaching, some voluntarily, others driven conductors of our fireworks. What an forward against their wills, by a set of disagreeable surprise would it be to see a contented genii, whom by intuition I knew huge fellow with whiskers flash a charged were their husbands. blunderbuss full in a lady's face, without The apartment in which I was to show singeing her hair, or melting her pomatum. away was filled with several gaming-tables, Perhaps, when the first surprise was over, as if just forsaken; the candles were burnt she might then grow familiar with danger; to the socket, and the hour was five o'clock and the ladies might vie with each other in the morning. Placed at one end of the in standing fire with intrepidity.
room, which was of prodigious length, I But of all the wonders of the East, the could more easily distinguish every female most useful, and I should fancy the most figure as she marched up from the door ; pleasing, would be the looking-glass of but, guess my surprise, when I could Lao, which reflects the mind as well as scarce perceive one blooming
or agree. the body. It is said that the Emperor able face among the number. This, howChusi used to make his concubines dress ever, I attributed to the early hour, and their heads and their hearts in one of these kindly considered that the face of a lady glasses every morning: while the lady was just risen from bed ought always to find at her toilet, he would frequently look over a compassionate advocate. her shoulder; and it is recorded that, The first person who came up in order among the three hundred which composed to view her intellectual face was a com. his seraglio, not one was found whose mind moner's wife, who, as I afterwards found, was not even more beautiful than her being bred up during her virginity in a person.
pawnbroker's shop, now attempted to make I make no doubt but a glass in this up the defects of breeding and sentiment country would have the very same effect. by the magnificence of her dress and the The English ladies, concubines and all, expensiveness of her amusements. “Mr. would undoubtedly cut very pretty figures Showman,” cried she, approaching, “I am in so faithful a monitor. There, should told you has something to show in that there