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swelled till he was ready to burst. At length casting his eye upon the bee, and wisely gathering causes from events (for they knew each other by sight), “A plague split you," said he, "for a giddy puppy ; it is you, with a vengeance, that have made this litter here? Could you not look before you ? Do you think I have nothing else to do than to mend and repair after you ?" “ Good words, friend,” said the bee (having now pruned himself and being disposed to be droll) : “ I'll give you my hand and word to come near your kennel no more,
was never in such a confounded pickle since I was born !" “Sirrah,” replied the spider, “if it were not for breaking an old custom in our family, never to stir abroad against an enemy, I should come and teach you better manners. " I pray have patience,” said the bee, “ or you'll spend your substance, and for aught I see, you may stand in need of it all towards the repair of your house.” “Rogue, rogue,” replied the spider ; “yet methinks
you should have more respect for a person whom all the world allows to be so much your betters.” By my troth,” said the bee, “ the comparison will amount to a very good jest ; and you will do me a favour to let me know the reasons that all the world is pleased to use in so hopeful a dispute.” At this the spider, having swelled himself to the size and posture of a disputant, began his argument in the true spirit of controversy, with resolution to be heartily scurrilous and angry ; to urge his own reasons without the least regard to the answers or objections of his opposite ; and fully predetermined in his mind against all conviction.
“Not to disparage myself,” said he, “ by the comparison with such a rascal, what art thou but a vagabond, without house or hoine, without stock or inheritance : born to no possession of your own but a pair of wings and a drone-pipe, your livelihood is a universal plunder upon nature. You are a freebooter oyer fields and gardens ; and for the sake of stealing you will rob a nettle as easily as a violet : whereas, I am a domestic animal, furnished with a native stock within myself. This large castle (to show my improvements in the mathematics), is all built with my own hands, and the materials extracted altogether out of my own person."
“I am glad,” answered the bee, “ to hear you grant at least, that I am come honestly by my wings and my voice ; for then, it seems, I am obliged to Heaven alone for my flights and my music ; and Providence would never have bestowed on me two such gifts, without designing them for the noblest ends.
I visit, indeed, all the flowers and blossoms of the field and garden ; but whatever I collect thence enriches myself, without the least injury to their beauty, their smell or their taste. Now, for you and your skill in architecture and other mathematics, I have little to say : in that building of yours there might, for aught I know, have been labour and method enough ; but by woful experience for us both, it is too plain the materials are naught, and I hope you will henceforth take warning, and consider duration and matter as well as method and art. You boast, indeed, of being obliged to no other creature, but of drawing and spinning out all from yourself ; that is to say, if we may judge of the liquor in the vessel by what issues out, you possess a good plentiful store of dirt and poison in your breast ; and though I would by no means lessen or disparage your genuine stock of either, yet I doubt you are somewhat obliged, for an increase of both, to a little foreign assistance. Your inherent portion of dirt does not fail of acquisitions, by sweepings exhaled from below; and one insect furnishes you with a share of poison to destroy another. So that, in short, the question comes all to this ; whether is the nobler being of the two, that which, by a lazy contemplation of four inches round, by an overweening pride, feeding and engendering on itself, turns all into excrement and venom, producing nothing at all but flybane and a cobweb; or that which, by a universal range, with long search, much study, true judgment, and distinction of things, brings home honey and wax ?''
THE FIRST ATTEMPTS AT COMMERCE.
The original station allotted to man by his Creator was in the mild and fertile regions of the East. There the human race began its career of improvement ; and, from the remains of sciences which were anciently cultivated, as well as of arts which were anciently exercised in India, we may conclude it to be one of the first countries in which men made any considerable progress in that career. The wisdom of the East was early celebrated, and its productions were early in request among distant nations. The intercourse, however, between different countries was carried on, at first, entirely by land. As the people of the East appear soon to have acquired complete dominion over the useful animals, they could early undertake the long and tiresome journeys which it was necessary to make, in order to maintain their intercourse, and by the provident bounty of Heaven they were furnished with a beast of burden, without whose aid it would have been impossible to accomplish them. The camel, by its persevering strength, by its moderation in the use of food, and the singularity of its internal structure, which enables it to lay in a stock of water sufficient for several days, put it in their power to convey bulky commodities through those deserts which must be traversed by all who travel from any of the countries west of the Euphrates, towards India. Trade was carried on in this manner, particularly by the nations near to the Arabian Gulf, from the earliest period to which historical information reaches. Distant journeys, however, would be undertaken at first only occasionally, and by a few adventurers. But by degrees, from attention to their mutual safety and comfort, numerous bodies of merchants assembled at stated times, and formed a temporary association, known afterwards by the name of a Caravan, governed by officers of their own choice, and subject to regulations, of which experience had taught them the utility ; they performed journeys of such extent and duration, as appear astonishing to nations not accustomed to this mode of carrying on commerce.
But notwithstanding every improvement that could be made in the manner of conveying the productions of one country to another by land, the inconveniences which attended it were obvious and unavoidable. It was often dangerous, always expensive, and tedious and fatiguing. A method of communication more easy and expeditious was sought, and the ingenuity of man gradually discovered that the rivers, the arms of the sea, and even the ocean itself, were destined to open and facilitate intercourse with the various regions of the earth, between which they appear, at first view, to be placed as insuperable barriers. Navigation, however, and shipbuilding, as I have observed in another work, are arts so nice and complicated, that they require the talents, as well as experience, of many successive ages to bring them to any degree of perfection. From the raft or canoe which first served to carry a savage over the river that obstructed him in the chase, to the construction of a vessel capable of conveying a numerous crew or a considerable cargo of goods to a distant coast, the progress of improvement is immense. Many efforts would be made, many experiments would be tried, and much labour as well as ingenuity would be employed, before this arduous and important undertaking could be accomplished.
Even after some improvement was made in shipbuilding, the intercourse of nations with each other by sea was far from being extensive. From the accounts of the earliest historians, we learn that navigation made its first efforts in the Mediterranean and the Arabian Gulf; and in them the first active operations of commerce were carried on. From an attentive inspection of the position and form of these two great inland seas, these accounts appear to be highly probable. These seas lay open the continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and spreading to a great extent along the coasts of most fertile and most early civilized countries in each, seem to have been destined by nature to facilitate their communication with one another. We find, accordingly, that the first voyages of the Egyptians and Phænicians, the most ancient navigators mentioned in history, were made in the Mediterranean. Their trade, however, was not long confined to the countries bordering upon it. By acquiring early possession of ports on the Arabian Gulf, they extended the sphere of their commerce, and are represented as the first people of the west who opened a communication by sea with India.
In that account of the progress of navigation and discovery, which I prefixed to the history of America, I considered with attention the maritime operations of the Egyptians and Phoenicians ; a brief review of them here, as far as they relate to their connexion with India, is all that is requisite for illustrating the subject of my present inquiries. With respect to the former of these people, the information which history affords is slender, and of doubtful authority. The fertile soil and mild climate of Egypt produced the necessaries and comforts of life in such profusion as to render its inhabitants so independent of other countries, that it became early an established maxim in their policy to renounce all intercourse with foreigners. In consequence of this, they held all seafaring persons in detestation, as impious and profane, and, fortifying their harbours, they denied strangers admission into them.
The enterprising ambition of Sesostris disdained the restraints imposed upon it by these contracted ideas of his subjects, and
prompted him to render the Egyptians a commercial people ; and in the course of his reign he so completely accomplished this, that if we may give credit to some historians, he was able to fit out a fleet of four hundred ships in the Arabian Gulf, which conquered all the countries stretching along the Erythrean sea to India. At the same time his army, led by himself, marched through Asia, and subjected to his dominion every port of it as far as to the banks of the Ganges ; and crossing that river, advanced to the Eastern Ocean. But these efforts produced no permanent effect, and appear to have been so contrary to the genius and habits of the Egyptians, that, on the death of Sesostris, they resumed their ancient maxims, and many ages elapsed before the commercial connexion of Egypt with India came to be of such importance as to merit any notice in this Disquisition.
The history of the early maritime operations of Phoenicia is not involved in the same obscurity with those of Egypt. Every circumstance in the character and situation of the Phænicians was favourable to the commercial spirit. The territory which they possessed was neither large nor fertile ; it was from commerce only that they could derive either opulence or power. Accordingly, the trade carried on by the Phoenicians of Sidon and Tyre was extensive and adventurous ; and, both in their manners and policy, they resemble the great commercial states of modern times more than any people in the ancient world. Among the various branches of their commerce, that with India may be regarded as one of the most considerable and most lucrative. As by their situation on the Mediterranean, and the imperfect state of navigation, they could not attempt to open a direct communication with India by sea, the enterprising spirit of commerce prompted them to wrest from the Idumeans some commodious harbours towards the bottom of the Arabian Gulf.
From these they held a regular intercourse with India, on the one hand, and with the eastern and southern coasts of Africa on the other. The distance, however, from the Arabian Gulf to Tyre was considerable, and rendered the conveyance of goods to it by land-carriage so tedious and expensive that it became necessary for them to take possession of Rhinocolura, the nearest port in the Mediterranean to the Arabian Gulf. Thither all the commodities brought from India were conveyed overland, by a route much shorter and more practicable than that by which the produc