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But having either natural or focial claims to enforce his petitions.
But this intercourte of benefaction and acknowledgment is often injurious even to the giver as well as the receiver. A man can gain but little knowledge of himfelf, or of the world, amidst a circle of those whom hope or gratitude has gathered round him; their unceafing humiliations muit neceffarily encrease his comparative magnitude, for all men meature their own abilities by thofe of their company; thus, being taught to over,rate his merit, he in reality leffens it; encreasing in confidence, but not in power, his profeffions end in empty boaft, his undertakings in thameful difappointment.
It is perhaps one of the feverest misfortunes of the great, that they are, in general, obliged to live among men whole real value is leffened by dependence, and whofe minds are enslaved by obligation. The humble companion may have at first accepted patronage with generous views; but foon he feels the
mortifying influence of confeious inferiority, by degrees finks into a flatterer, and from flattery at laft degenerates into ftupid veneration. To remedy this, the great often difinifs their old dependents, and take new. Such changes are falfely imputed to levity, fallehood, or caprice, in the patron, fince they may be more juftlv afcribed to the client's gradual deterioration.
No, my fon, a life of independence is generally a life of virtue. It is that which fits the foul for every generous flight of humanity, fre dom, and friendhip. To give thould be our pleasure, but to receive our fhame; ferenity, health, and affluence, attend the defire of rifing by labour; mifery, repentance, and difrefpect, that of fucceeding by extorted benevolence. The man who can thank himself alore for the happinefs he enjoys is truly bleffed; and lovely, far more lovely, the furdy gloom of laborious indigence, than the fawning finper of thriving adulation. Adieu.
FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN CHINA.
men are born to teach, and others to receive intruction; fome to work, and others to enjoy in idleness the fruits of their induftry; fome to govern, and others to obey. Every people, how free foever, must be contented to give up part of their liberty and judgment to thofe who govern, in exchange for their hopes of fecurity; and the motives which firft influenced their choice in the election of their governors, fhould ever be weighed against the fucceeding apparent inconfiltencies of their conduct. All cannot be rulers, and men are generally beft governed by a few. In making way through the intricacies of bufinefs, the fmallett obftacies are apt to retard the execution of what is to be planned by a multiplicity of counfels; the judgment of one alone being always fittelt for winding through the labyrinths of intrigue, and the obftructions of difappointment. A ferpent, which, as the
is furnished with one
head and many tails, is much more capable of fubfiftence and expedition, than another which is furnished with but one tail and many heads.
Obvious as thefe truths are, the people of this country feem infenfible of their force, Not fatisfied with the advantages of internal peace and opulence, they fill murmur at their governors, and interfere in the execution of their defigns; as if they wanted to be fomething more than happy. But as the Europeans infruct by argument, and the Afiatics moftly by narration, were I to address them, I fhould convey my fentiments in the following ftory.
Takupi had long been prime minifter of Tipartala, a fertile country that ftretches along the western confines of China. During his administration, whatever advantages could be derived from arts, learning, and commerce, were seen to blefs the people; nor were
the neceffary precautions of providing for the fecurity of the ftate forgotten. It often happens, however, that when men are poffeffed of all they want, they then begin to find torment from imaginary afflictions, and leffen their prefent enjoyments, by foreboding that thoie enjoyments are to have an end. The people now, therefore, endeavoured to find out grievances; and after fome fearch, actually began to think themselves aggrieved. A petition against the enormities of Takupi was carried to the throne in due form; and the queen who governed the country, willing to fatis fy her fubjects, appointed a day in which his accufers fhould be heard, and the minifter fhould stand upon his defence.
The day being arrived, and the minifter brought before the tribunal, a carrier, who fupplied the city with fish, appeared among the number of his accufers. He exclaimed, that it was the custom, time immemorial, for carriers to bring their fish upon an horfe in a hamper; which being placed on one fide, and balanced by a stone on the other, was thus conveyed with eafe and fafety but that the prifoner, moved either by a spirit of innovation, or perhaps bribed by the hamper-makers, had obliged all carriers to ufe the ftone no longer, but balance one hamper with another; an order entirely repugnant to the cuftoms of all antiquity, and those of the kingdom of Tipartala in particular.
The carrier finished; and the whole court hook their heads at the innovat ing minifter: when a fecond witness appeared. He was infpector of the citybuildings, and accufed the difgraced favourite of having given orders for the demolition of an ancient ruin, which obftru&ted the paffage through one of the principal freets. He obferved, that fuch buildings were noble monuments of barbarous antiquity; contributed finely to fhew how little their ancestors understood of architecture: and for that reafon fuch monuments fhould be
held facred, and fuffered gradually to decay.
The laft witness now appeared. This was a widow, who had laudably attempted to burn herfelf upon her hufband's funeral-pile. But the innovating minifter had prevented the execution of her defign, and was infenfible to her tears, proteftations, and entreaties.
The queen could have pardoned the two former offences; but this laft was confidered as fo grofs an injury to the fex, and fo directly contrary to all the customs of antiquity, that it called for immediate juftice. What! cried the queen, not fuffer a woman to burn herfelf when the thinks proper! The fex are to be very prettily tutored, no doubt, if they must be reftrained from entertaining their female friends now and then with a fried wife, or roafted acquaintance. I fentence the criminal to be banished my prefence for ever, for his injurious treatment " of the fex.'
Takupi had been hitherto fiient, and fpoke only to fhew the fincerity of his refignation. Great Queen!' cried he,
I acknowledge my crime; and fince I am to be banished, I beg it may be to fome ruined town, or defolate village, in the country I have governed. I fhall find fome pleafure in improving the foil, and bringing back a fpirit of induftiy among the inhabitants. His request appearing reafonable, it was immediately complied with; and a courtier had orders to fix upon a place of banishment answering the minifter's defcription. After fome months fearch, however, the enquiry proved fruitlets; neither a defolate vil lage, nor a ruined town, was found in the kingdom. Alas! faid Takupi then to the queen, how can that country be ill governed which has neither
a defolate village nor a ruined town in it? The queen perceived the juf tice of his expoftulation, and the minifter was received into more than former favour,
FROM THE SAME.
HE ladies here are by no means fuch ardent gamefters as the women of Afia. In this refpect I must do the English justice; for I love to praise where applaufe is juttly merited. Nothing more common in China, than to fee two women of fashion continue gaming till one has won all the other's cloaths, and ftripped her quite naked; the winner thus marching off in a double fuit of finery, and the lofer fhrinking behind in the primitive fimplicity of na
No doubt you remember when Shang, our maiden aunt, played with a sharper. First her money went; then her trinkets were produced; her cloaths followed piece by piece foon after: when he had thus played herself quite naked, being a woman of spirit, and willing to purfue ber own, the ftaked her teeth. Fortune was against her even here, and her teeth followed her cloaths; at last she played for her left eye; and, oh, hard fate, this too the loft! However, the had the confolation of biting the fharper; for he never perceived that it was made of glafs till it became his own.
How happy, my friend, are the Englifh ladies, who never rife to fach an inordinance of paffion! Though the fex here are naturally fond of games of chance, and are taught to manage games of skill from their infancy, yet they never purfue ill fortune with fuch amazing intrepidity. Indeed I may entirely atquit them of ever playing-I mean of playing for their eyes or their teeth. It is true, they often take their fortune, their beauty, health, and reputations, at a gaming-table. It even fometimes happens, that they play their hufbands into jail; yet ftill they preferve a decorum unknown to our wives and daughters of China. I have been prefent at a route in this country, where
a woman of fashion, after lofing her money, has fat writhing in all the ago nies of bad luck; and yet, after all, never once attempted to ftrip a fingle petticoat, or cover the hoard, as her last ftake, with her head-cloaths.
However, though I praise their moderation at play, I muft-not conceal their affiduity. In China, our women, except upon fome great days, are never permitted to finger a dice-box; but here every day feems to be a feftival; and night itself, which gives others reft, only ferves to encrease the female gamefter's industry. I have been told of an old lady in the country, who being given over by the phyficians, played with the curate of her parish to pass the time away: having won all his money, the next propofed playing for her funeral charges; the propofal was accepted; but unfortunately the lady expired just as fhe had taken in her game.
There are fome paffions which, though differently purfued, are attend-, ed with equal confequences in every country here they game with more perfeverance, there with greater fury; here they trip their families, there they ftrip themselves naked. A lady in China, who indulges a paffion for gaming, often becomes a drunkard; and by flourishing a dice-box in one hand, the generally comes to brandish a dram-cup in the other. Far be it from me to lay there are any who drink drams in England; but it is natural to fuppofe, that when a lady has loft every thing elfe but her honour, the will be apt to tofs that into the bargain; and, grown infenfible of nicer feelings, behave like the Spaniard, who, when all his money was gone, endeavoured to borrow more, by offering to pawn his whifker. Adieu.
FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO ***, MERCHANT IN AMSTERDAM.
Have just received a letter from my fon, in which he informs me of the fruitieffness of his endeavours to recover the lady with whom he filed from Perha. He strives to cover, under the appearance of fortitude, a heart torn with anxiety and difappointment. I have offered little confolation; fince that but too frequently feeds the forrow which it pretends to deplore, and #trengthens the impreffion which nothing but the external rubs of time and accident can thoroughly efface.
. He informs me of his intentions of quitting Mofcow the first opportunity, and travelling by land to Amfterdam. I must therefore, upon his arrival, entreat the continuance of your friendship; and beg of you to provide him with proper directions for finding me in London. You can fcarcely be fentible of the joy I expect upon feeing him once more: the ties between the father and the fon, among us of China, are much more siotely drawn than with you of Europe. The remittances fent me from Argun to Moscow, came in fafety. I cannot fufficiently admire that fpirit of honefly which prevails through the whole coun. try of Siberia: perhaps the favages of that defolate region are the only untu tored people of the globe that cultivate the moral virtues, even without know ing that their actions merit praife. I have been told furpriling things of their goodness, benevolence, and generofity; and the uninterrupted commerce between China and Ruffia ferves as a col
Let us,' fays the Chinese law-giver, admire the rude virtues of the ignorant, but rather imitate the delicate movals of the polite. In the country where I refide, though honesty and be
nevolence be not fo congenial, yet art fupplies the place of nature. Though here every vice is carried to excess, yet every virtue is practiled alfo with unexampled fuperiority. A city like this is the foil for great virtues and great vices: the villain can foon improve here in the deepest myfteries of deceiving; and the practical philofopher can every day meet new incitements to mend his honeft intentions. There are no pleafures, fenfual or fentimental, which this city does not produce; yet, I know net how, I could not be content to refide here for life. There is fomething fo feducing in that spot in which we first had existence, that nothing but it can pleafe: whatever viciffitudes we experience in life, however we toil, or wherefoever we wander, our fatigued wishes ftill recur to home for tranquillity; we long to die in that fpot which gave us birth, and in that pleafing expectation opiate every calamity.
You now, therefore, perceive that I have fome intentions of leaving this country; and yet my defigned depar ture fills me with reluctance and regret. Though the friendships of travellers are generally more tranfient than verval fnows, till I feel an uneafinefs at breaking the connections I have formed fince my arrival; particularly I fhall have no fmall pain in leaving my ufual companion, guide, and infructor.
I fhall wait for the arrival of my lon before I fet out. He fhall be my companion in every intended journey for the future; in his company I can fupport the fatigues of the way with redoubled ardour, pleated at once with conveying instruction, and exacting obedience. Adieu.
FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESIDENT OF THI CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PENIN, IN CHINA.
UR fcholars of China have a
died the decorums of drefs with more affiduity. They may properly enough te faid to be cloathed with wildom from
head to foot; they have their philofophical caps, and philofophical whifkers; their philofophical flippers, and philofophical fans; there is even a philofophical standard for measuring the nails; and yet, with all this feeming wildom, they are often found to be mere empty pretenders.
A philofophical beau is not fo frequent in Europe; yet I am told that fuch characters are found here. I mean, fuch as punctually fupport all the decorums of learning without being really very profound, or naturally poifelfed of a fine understanding; whỏ la'bour hard to attain the titular honours attending literary merit; who flatter others in order to be flattered in turn; and only study to be thought itudents."
A character of this kind generally receives company in his tray, in all the penlive formality of flippers, night gown, and easy-chair. The table is covered with a large book, which is always kept open, and never read; his Colitary hours being dedicated to dǝzing, mending pens, feeling his pulle, peeping through the microfcope, and fometimes reading amufing books, which he condemns in company. His library is preferved with the moft religious neatnefs; and is generally a repontory of fcarce books, which bear an high price, because too dull or utelefs to become common by the ordinary methods of publication.
Such men are generally candidates for admittance into literary clubs, academies, and inftitutions, where they regularly meet to give and receive a little inftruction and a great deal of praite. In converfation they never betray ignorance, because they never feem to receive information. Offer a new obfervation, they have heard it before; pinch them in an argument, and they reply with a fneer.
Yet, how trifling foever thefe little arts may appear, they answer one valuable purpofe, of gaining the practifers the esteem they with for. The bounds of a man's knowledge are eafily concealed, if he has but prudence; but all can readily fee and admire a gilt brary, a fet of long nails, a filver itandih, or a well combed whisker, who are incapable of diftinguishing a dunce.
When Father Matthew, the firft European miffionary, entered China, the
court was informed that he poffetfed great skill in attronomy; he was therefore tent for and examined. The eftablished aftronomers of itate undertook this taik; and made their report to the emperor, that his fkill was but very fuperficial, and no way comparable to their own. The miffionary, however, appealed from their judgment to experience, and challenged them to calculate an eclipfe of the moon that was to happen a few nights following. What,' faid fome, hall a Barbarian, without nails, pretend to vie with men in aftronomy, who have made it the Bady of their lives; with men who know half the knowable characters of words, who wear fcientifical caps and
ppers, and who have gone through every literary deg.ee with, applaufe?" They accepted the challenge, confident of fucceis. The eclipfe began: the Chinele produced a most splendid apparatus, and were fitteen minutes wrong; the miftionary, with a single intrument, was exact to a fecond. This was convincing; but the court aftronomers were not to be convinced; instead of acknowledging their error, they affured the emperor that their calculations were cer ainiy exact, but that the ftranger without nails had actually bewitched the moon. "Well, then,' cries the good emperor, finiling at their ignorance," you shall still continue to be fervants of the moon; but I constitute this man her controuer.'
China is thus replete with men, whose only pretentions to knowledge arife from external clicumitances; and in Europe every country abounds, with them in proportion to it's ignorance. Spain and Flanders, who are behind the relt, of Europe in learning, at least three centuries, have twenty literary titles and marks of diftinction unknown in France or England: they have their Clariffimi and Preclarifini, their Accuratifimi and Mixutifimi: a round cap entitles one student to argue, and a square cap permits another to teach; while a cap with a taffel almoft fanctifies the head it happens to cover. But where true knowledge is cultivated, these formalities begin to difappear; the ermined cowl, the folemn heard, and sweeping train, are laid afide; philofophers drefs, and talk, and think, like other men ; and lamb fkin dreffers, and cap-mak