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sinks him below his dignity; and in proportion to cle of those whom hope or gratitude has gathered the value of the benefit, or the frequency of its ac- round him; their unceasing humiliations must neceptance, he gives up so much of his natural inde. cessarily increase his comparative magnitude, for all pendence. He, therefore, who thrives upon the men measure their own abilities by those of their unmerited bounty of another, if he has any sensi- company; thus being taught to over-rate his merit, bility, suffers the worst of servitude; the shackled he in reality lessens it; increasing in confidence, slave may murmur without reproach, but the hum- but not in power, his professions end in empty ble dependant is taxed with ingratitude upon every boast, his undertakings in shameful disappointsymptom of discontent; the one may rave round ment. the walls of his cell, but the other lingers in all the It is, perhaps, one of the severest misfortunes of silence of mental confinement. To increase his the great, that they are, in general, obliged to live distress, every new obligation but adds to the former among men whose real value is lessened by depend load which kept the vigorous mind from rising; ence, and whose minds are enslaved by obligation. till, at last, elastic no longer, it shapes itself to con- The humble companion may have at first accepted straint, and puts on habitual servility.
patronage with generous views; but soon he feels It is thus with a feeling mind; but there are the mortifying influence of conscious inferiority, some who, born without any share of sensibility, by degrees sinks into a flatterer, and from flattery receive favour after favour, and still cringe for at last degenerates into stupid veneration. To more; who accept the offer of generosity with as remedy this, the great often dismiss their old delittle reluctance as the wages of merit, and even pendants, and take new. Such changes are falsely make thanks for past benetits an indirect petition imputed to levity, falsehood, or caprice, in the pafor new; such, I grant, can suffer no debasement tron, since they may be more justly ascribed to the from dependence, since they were originally as vile client's gradual deterioration. as it was possible to be; dependence degrades only No, my son, a life of independence is generally a the ingenuous, but leaves the sordid mind in pris- life of virtue. It is that which fits the soul for every tine meanness. In this manner, therefore, long generous flight of humanity, freedom, and friendcontinued generosity is misplaced, or it is injurious; ship. To give should be our pleasure, but to reit either finds a man worthless, or it makes him so; ceive, our shame; serenity, health, and affluence, and true it is, that the person who is contented to be attend the desire of rising by labour; misery, reoften obliged, ought not to have been obliged at all. pentance, and disrespect, that of succeeding by ex
Yet, while I describe the meanness of a life of torted benevolence; the man who can thank himcontinued dependence, I would not be thought to self alone for the happiness he enjoys is truly include those natural or political subordinations blessed; and lovely, far more lovely, the sturdy which subsist in every society; for in such, though gloom of laborious indigence, than the fawning dependence is exacted from the inferior, yet the simper of thriving adulation. Adieu. obligation on either side is mutual. The son must rely upon his parent for support, but the parent lies under the same obligations to give, that the other has to expect; the subordinate officer must
LETTER CI. receive the commands of his superior, but for this obedience the former has a right to demand an in- From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, First President of
the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China tercourse of favour. Such is not the dependence I would depreciate, but that where every expected In every society some men are born to teach, and favour must be the result of mere benevolence in others to receive instruction; some to work, and the giver, where the benefit can be kept without others to enjoy in idleness the fruits of their indusremorse, or transferred without injustice. The try, some to govern, and others to obey. Every character of a legacy hunter, for instance, is detesta- people, how free soever, must be contented to give ble in some countries, and despicable in all; this up part of their liberty and judgment to those who universal contempt of a man who infringes upon govern, in exchange for their hopes of security; and none of the laws of society, some moralists have the motives which first influenced their choice in arraigned as a popular and unjust prejudice; never the election of their governors should ever be weighconsidering the necessary degradations a wretched against the succeeding apparent inconsistencies must undergo, who previously expects to grow rich of their conduct. All can not be rulers, and men by benefits, without having either natural or social are generally best governed by a few. In making claims to enforce his petitions.
way through the intricacies of business, the smallest But this intercourse of benefaction and acknow- obstacles are apt to retard the execution of what is ledgment, is often injurious even to the giver as to be planned by a multiplicity of counsels; the well as the receiver. A man can gain but little judgment of one alone being always fittest for knowledge of himself, or of the world, amidst a cir- winding through the labyrinths of intrigue, and the obstructions of disappointment. A serpent which, and for that reason such monuments should be as the fable observes, is furnished with one head held sacred, and suffered gradually to decay. and many tails, is much more capable of subsistence “The last witness now appeared. This was a and expedition than another which is furnished widow, who had laudably attempted to burn herwith but one tail and many heads.
self upon her husband's funeral pile. But the inObvious as those truths are, the people of this novating minister had prevented the execution of country seem insensible of their force. Not satis- her design, and was insensible to her tears, protesfied with the advantages of internal peace and opu- tations, and entreaties. lence, they still murmur at their governors and in- "The queen could have pardoned the two former terfete in the execution of their designs, as if they offences; but this last was considered as so gross wanted to be something more than happy. But as an injury to the sex, and so directly contrary to all the Europeans instruct by argument, and the the customs of antiquity, that it called for immediAsiatics mostly by narration, were I to address ate justice. "What!' cried the queen, 'not suffer them, I should convey my sentiments in the follow- a woman to burn herself when she thinks proper? ing story.
The sex are to be very prettily tutored, no doubt, " Takupi had long been prime minister of Ti- if they must be restrained from entertaining their partala, a fertile country that stretehes along the female friends now and then with a fried wife, or Western confines of China. During his adminis- roasted acquaintance. I sentence the criminal to tration, whatever advantages could be derived from be banished my presence for ever, for his injurious arts, learning, and commerce, were seen to bless treatment of the sex.” the people; nor were the necessary precautions of “Takupi had been hitherto silent, and spoke providing for the security of the state forgotten. It only to show the sincerity of his resignation. often happens, however, that when men are pos- 'Great queen,' cried he, “I acknowledge my crime; sessed of all they want, they then begin to find and since I am to be banished, I beg it may be to tornent from imaginary afflictions, and lessen their some ruined town, or desolate village, in the counpresent enjoyments by foreboding that those en-try I have governed. I shall find some pleasure joyments are to have an end. The people now, in improving the soil, and bringing back a spirit of therefore, endeavoured to find out grievances; and industry among the inhabitants.' His request apafter soine search, actually began to think them- pearing reasonable, it was immediately complied selves aggrieved. A petition against the enormi- with; and a courtier had orders to fix upon a place ties of Takupi was carried to the throne in due of banishment answering the minister's descripform; and the queen who governed the country, tion. After some months' search, however, the willing to satisfy her subjects, appointed a day in inquiry proved fruitless; neither a desolate village which his accusers should be heard, and the minis- nor a ruined town was found in the whole kingter should stand upon his defence.
dom. ‘Alas,' said Takupi then to the queen, 'how "The day being arrived, and the minister can that country be ill governed which has neither brought before the tribunal, a carrier, who supplied a desolate village nor a ruined town in it?' Thie the city with fish, appeared among the number of queen perceived the justice of his expostulation,
He exclaimed, that it was the cus- and the minister was received into more than tom time immemorial for carriers to bring their fish former favour," upon a horse in a hamper ; which being placed on one side, and balanced by a stone on the other, was thus conveyed with ease and safety; but that the prisoner, moved either by a spirit of innovation, or
LETTER CII. perhaps bribed by the hamper-makers, had obliged all carriers to use the stone no longer, but balance one hamper with another; an order entirely repug- The ladies here are by no means such ardent nant to the customs of all antiquity, and those of gamesters as the women of Asia. In this respect the kingdom of Tipartala in particular.
I must do the English justice ; for I love to praise "The carrier finished, and the whole court shook where applause is justly merited. Nothing is more their heads at the innovating minister; when a common in China than to see two women of fashion second witness appeared. He was inspector of continue gaming till one has won all the other's the city buildings, and accused the disgraced fa- clothes, and stripped her quite naked; the winner vourite of having given orders for the demolition of thus marching off in a double suit of finery, and an ancient ruin, which obstructed the passage the loser shrinking behind in the primitive simplicithrough one of the principal streets. He observed, ty of nature. that such buildings were noble monuments of bar- No doubt, you remember when Shang, our barous antiquity; contributed finely to show how maiden aunt, played with a sharper. First her htule their ancestors understood of archictecture : money went; then her trinkets were produced ;
From the Same.
her clothes followed piece by piece soon after; when she had thus played herself quite naked, being a
LETTER CIII. woman of spirit, and willing to pursue her own,
From Lien Chi Altangi to ****, Merchant in Amsterdam. she staked her teeth : fortune was against her even here, and her teeth followed her clothes. At last I have just received a letter from my son, in she played for her left eye; and, oh, hard fate! this which he informs me of the fruitlessness of his entoo she lost : however, she had the consolation of deavours to recover the lady with whom he fied biting the sharper, for he never perceived that it from Persia. He strives to cover, under the apwas made of glass till it became his own.
pearance of fortitude, a heart torn with anxiety How happy, my friend, are the English ladies, and disappointment. I have offered little cofisolawho never rise to such an inordinance of passion !tion, since that but two frequently feeds the sorThough the sex here are generally fond of games row which it pretends to deplore, and strengthens of chance, and are taught to manage games of skill the impression, which nothing but the external from their infancy, yet they never pursue ill-fortune rubs of time and accident can thoroughly efface. with such amazing intrepidity. Indeed, I may en- He informs me of his intentions of quitting tirely acquit them of ever playing—I mean of play- Moscow the first opportunity, and travelling by ing for their eyes or their teeth.
land to Amsterdam. I must, therefore, upon his It is true, they often stake their fortune, their arrival, entreat the continuance of your friendship, beauty, health, and reputation, at a gaming-table. and beg of you to provide him with proper direcIt even sometimes happens, that they play their tions for finding me in London. You can scarcehusbands into a gaol; yet still they preserve a de- ly be sensible of the joy I expect upon seeing corum unknown to our wives and daughters in him once more; the ties between the father and China. I have been present at a rout in this the son among us of China, are much more closecountry, where a woman of fashion, after losing ly drawn than with you of Europe. her money, has sat writhing in all the agonies of The remittances sent me from Argun to Moscow bad luck; and yet, after all, never once attempted came in safety. I can not sufficiently admire that to strip a single petticoat, or cover the board, as spirit of honesty which prevails through the whole her last stake, with her head-clothes.
country of Siberia: perhaps the savages of that However, though I praise their moderation at desolate region are the only untutored people of play, I must not conceal their assiduity. In China, the globe that cultivate the moral virtues, even our women, except upon some great days, are never without knowing that their actions merit praise. I permitted to finger a dice-box; but here every day have been told surprising things of their goodness
, seems to be a festival, and night itself, which gives benevolence, and generosity; and the uninterruptothers rest, only serves to increase the female ed commerce between China and Russia serves as gamester's industry. I have been told of an old a collateral confirmation. lady in the country, who, being given over by the
"Let us,” says the Chinese lawgiver, "admire physicians, played with the curate of her parish to the rude virtues of the ignorant, but rather imitate pass the time away: having won all his money, the delicate morals of the polite." In the country she next proposed playing for her funeral charges ; where I reside, though honesty and benevolence her proposal was accepted; but unfortunately the be not so congenial, yet art supplies the place of lady expired just as she had taken in her game.
nature. Though here every vice is carried to exThere are some passions which, though different- cess, yet every virtue is practised also with uner. ly pursued, are attended with equal consequences ampled superiority. A city like this is the soil for in every country: here they game with more per- great virtues and great vices; the villain can soon severance, there with greater fury; here they strip improve himself in the deepest mysteries of detheir families, there they strip themselves naked. ceiving; and the practical philosopher can every A lady in China who indulges a passion for gaming, day meet new incitements to mend his honest inoften becomes a drunkard; and by flourishing a tentions. There are no pleasures, sensual or sendice-box in one hand, she generally comes to brand-timental, which this city does not produce; yet, I ish a dram-cup in the other. Far be it from me know not how, I could not be content to reside to say there are any who drink drams in England; here for life. There is something so seducing in but it is natural to suppose, that when a lady has that spot in which we first had existence, that no lost every thing else but her honour, she will be thing but it can please. Whatever vicissitudes apt to toss that into the bargain; and, grown in- we experience in life, however we toil, or wheresosensible to nicer feelings, behave like the Spaniard, ever we wander, our fatigued wishes still recur to who, when all his money was gone, endeavoured home for tranquillity: we long to die in that spot to borrow more, by offering to pawn his whiskers. which gave us birth, and in that pleasing expectaAdieu.
Ition opiate every calamity.
You now, therefore, perceive that I have some new observation, they have heard it before, pinch intentions of leaving this country; and yet my de-them in argument, and they reply with a sneer. signed departure fills me with reluctance and re- Yet, how trifling soever these little arts may apgret. Though the friendships of travellers are pear, they answer one valuable purpose, of gaining generally more transient than vernal snows, still I the practisers the esteem they wish for. The feel an uneasiness at breaking the connexions I bounds of a man's knowledge are easily concealed, have formed since my arrival; particularly I shall if he has but prudence; but all can readily see and have no small pain in leaving my usual companion, admire a gilt library, a set of long nails, a silver guide, and instructor.
standish, or a well-combed whisker, who are incaI shall wait for the arrival of my son before I set pable of distinguishing a dunce. out. He shall be my companion in every intended When Father Matthew, the first European journey for the future ; in his company I can sup- missionary, entered China, the court was informed, port the fatigues of the way with redoubled ardour, that he possessed great skill in astronomy; he was pleased at once with conveying instruction and ex- therefore sent for, and examined. The established acting obedience. Adieu.
astronomers of state undertook this task, and made their report to the emperor that his skill was but
very superficial, and no way comparable to their LETTER CIV.
own. The missionary, however, appealed from From Lien Chi Altangi to Fum Hoam, First President of the
their judgment to experience, and challenged them Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China.
to calculate an eclipse of the moon that was to hap
pen a few nights following. "What!" said some, Our scholars in China have a most profound "shall a barbarian without nails pretend to vie veneration for forms. A first-rate beauty never with men in astronomy, who have made it the studied the decorums of dress with more assiduity; study of their lives; with men who know half of they may properly enough be said to be clothed with the knowable characters of words, who wear sciwisdom from head to foot; they have their philo-Jentifical caps and slippers, and who have gone sophical caps, and philosophical whiskers; their through every literary degree with applause?” They philosophical slippers
, and philosophical fans; there accepted the challenge, confident of success. The is even a philosophical standard for measuring the eclipse began: the Chinese produced a most splennails; and yet, with all this seeming wisdom, they did apparatus, and were fifteen minutes wrong; are often found to be mere empty pretenders. the missionary, with a single instrument, was exact
A philosophical beau is not so frequent in En- to a second. This was convincing; but the court rope; yet I am told that such characters are found astronomers were not to be convinced ; instead of here. I mean such as punctually support all the acknowledging their error, they assured the emdecorums of learning, without being really very peror that their calculations were certainly exact, profound, or naturally possessed of a fine under- but that the stranger without nails had actually standing who labour hard to obtain the titular bewitched the moon. "Well, then," cries the honours attending literary merit, who flatter others good emperor smiling at their ignorance, “you in order to be flattered in turn, and only study to shall still continue to be servants of the moon; but be thought students.
I constitute this man her controller." A character of this kind generally receives com- China is thus replete with men, whose only prepany in his study, in all the pensive formality of tensions to knowledge arise from external circumslippers, night-gown, and easy chair. The table is stances; and, in Europe, every country abounds covered with a large book, which is always kept with them in proportion to its ignorance. Spain open, and never read; his solitary hours being dedi- and Flanders, who are behind the rest of Europe cated to dozing, mending pens, feeling his pulse, in learning at least three centuries, have twenty peeping through the microscope, and sometimes literary titles and marks of distinction unknown in reading amusing books, which he condemns in France or England. They have their Clarissimi company. His library is preserved with the most and Præclarissimi, their Accuratissimi and Mireligious neatness, and is generally a repository of nutissimi. A round cap entitles one student to scarce books, which bear a high price, because too argue, and a square cap permits another to teach, dull or useless to become common by the ordinary while a cap with a tassel almost sanctifies the head methods of publication.
it happens to cover. But where true knowledge Such men are generally candidates for admit- is cultivated, these formalities begin to disappear. tance into literary clubs, academies, and institu- The ermined cowl, the solemn beard, and sweeptions, where they regularly meet to give and receive ing train, are laid aside ; philosophers dress, and a little instruction, and a great deal of praise. In talk, and think, like other men; and lamb-skin conversation they never betray ignorance, because dressers, and cap-makers, and tail-carriers, now they never seem to receive information. Offer a deplore a literary age.
From the Same.
For my own part, my friend, I have seen enough Some men have a manner of describing, which of presuming ignorance never to venerate wisdom only wraps the subject in more than former obscubut where it actually appears. I have received rity; thus I was unable, with all my companion's literary titles and distinctions myself; and, by the volubility, to form a distinct idea of the intended quantity of my own wisdom, know how very little procession. I was certain that the inauguration of wisdom they can confer. Adieu.
a king should be conducted with solemnity and religious awe; and I could not be persuaded, that
there was much solemnity in this description. "If LETTER CV.
this be true," cried I to myself, “the people of Europe surely have a strange manner of mixing
solemn and fantastic images together; pictures at The time for the young king's coronation ap- once replete with burlesque and the sublime. At proaches. The great and the little world look a time when the king enters into the most solema forward with impatience. A knight from the compact with his people, nothing surely should be country, who has brought up his family to see and admitted to diminish from the real majesty of the be seen on this occasion, has taken all the lower ceremony. A ludicrous image, brought in at such part of the house where I lodge. His wife is lay- a time, throws an air of ridicule upon the whole. ing in a large quantity of silks, which the mercer It someway resembles a picture I have seen, de tells her are to be fashionable next season ; and signed by Albert Durer, where, amidst all the somiss, her daughter, has actually had her ears bored lemnity of that awful scene, a deity judging, anda previous to the ceremony. In all this bustle of trembling world awaiting the decree, he has intropreparation I am considered as mere lumber, and duced a merry mortal trundling a scolding wife to have been shoved up two stories higher, to make hell in a wheel-barrow." room for others my landlady seems perfectly con- My companion, who mistook my silence, during vinced are my betters; but whom, before me, she this interval of reflection, for the rapture of asis contented with only calling very good company. tonishment, proceeded to describe those frivolous
The little beau, who has now forced himself into parts of the show that most struck his imaginamy intimacy, was yesterday giving me a most mi- tion; and to assure me, that if I stayed in this nute detail of the intended procession. All men country some months longer, I should see fine are eloquent upon their favourite topic : and this things. “For my own part,” continued he," I seemed peculiarly adapted to the size and turn of know already of fifteen suits of clothes, that would his understanding. His whole mind was blazoned stand on one end with gold lace, all designed to be over with a variety of glittering images ; coronets, first shown there ; and as for diamonds, rubies, escutcheons, lace, fringe, tassals, stones, bugles, emeralds, and pearls, we shall see them as thick as and spun glass. “Here,” cried he, "Garter is to brass nails in a sedan chair. And then we are walk; and there Rouge Dragon marches with the all to walk so majestically thus; this foot always escutcheons on his back. Here Clarencieux moves behind the foot before. The ladies are to fing forward; and there Blue Mantle disdains to be nosegays; the court poets to scatter verses: the left behind. Here the alderman march two and spectators are to be all in full dress : Mrs. Tibbs two ; and there the undaunted champion of Eng- in a new sack, ruffles, and frenched hair : look land, no way terrified at the very numerous ap- where you will, one thing finer than another; pearance of gentlemen and ladies, rides forward in Mrs. Tibbs courtesies to the duchess; her grace complete armour, and with an intrepid air, throws returns the compliment with a bow. 'Largess' down his glove. Ah !" continued he, “should any cries the herald. Make room,' cries the gentle be so hardy as to take up that fatal glove, and so man usher. 'Knock him down,' cries the guard, accept the challenge, we should see tine sport ; the Ah !" continued he, amazed at his own description, champion would show him no mercy; he would what an astonishing scene of grandeur can art soon teach him all his passes with a witness. How- produce from the smallest circumstance, when it ever, I am afraid we shall have none willing to try thus actually turns to wonder one man putting on it with him upon the approaching occasion, for another man's hat!" two reasons ; first, because his antagonist would I now found his mind was entirely set upon the stand a chance of being killed in the single combat; fopperies of the pageant, and quite regardless of the and, secondly, because if he escapes the champion's real meaning of such costly preparations. “Paarm, he would certainly be hanged for treason. geants,” says Bacon, "are pretty things; but we No, no; I fancy none will be so hardy as to dis- should rather study to make them elegant than er pute it with a champion like him inured to arms; pensive." Processions, cavalcades, and all that and we shall probably see him prancing unmolest- fund of gay frippery, furnished out by tailors, bared away, holding his bridle thus in one hand, and bers, and tirewomen, mechanically influence the brandishing his dram-cup in the other." mind into veneration. An emperor in his night