Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

Jaugh at the smallness of a Chinese dip- fifteen yards of trailing taffety! I canper ; but I fancy our wives at China not contain--Ha! ha! ha! This is cerwould have a more real cause of laugh- tainly a remnant of European barbarity: ter, could they but see the immoderate the te nale Tartar, dressed in sheep skins, length of an European train. Head of is in far more convenient drapery. Their Confucius! (o view a human being own writers have sometimes inveighed crippling hiertelf with a great unweildly against the absurdity of this fashion ; but tail, for our diversion! Backward the perhaps it has never been ridiculed fo cannot go; forward the mult move, but well as upon the Italian theatre, where fowly; and if ever she attempts to turn Pasquarielo, being engaged to attend on round, it mult be in a circle not smaller the Countess of Fernambroco, having than that described by the wheeling cro. one of his hands employed in carrying codile,, when it would face an allilant. her muff, and the other her lap-dog, he And yet, to think that all this confers bears her train majestically along, by importance and majetty! to think that sticking isin the waistbandof his breeches. a lady acquires additional respect from

Adieu,

LETTER LXXXII.

FROM THE SAME.

A

Dispute has for some time divided as to the native of a crouded common.

the philosophers of Europe ; it is wenith; or when the other endeavours debated, whether arts and sciences are to banish them as prejudicial to all fue more serviceable or prejudicial to man- ciety, even from populous ftates, as well kind? They who maintain the cause of as from the inhabitants of the wilderliterature, endeavour to prove their use- neis, they are both wrong; fince that fulness, from the impoffibility of a large knowledge which makes the happiness number of men iubfiiting in a small tract of a refined European, would be a tor. of country without thein; from the plea- ment to the precarious tenant of an Alsure which attends the acquisition; and atic wild. from the influence of knowledge in pro- Let me, to prove this, transport the moting practical morality.

imagination for a moment to the midst They who maintain the opposite opi- of a foreit in Siberia. There we be.' nion, display the happiness and inno. hold the inhabitant, poor indeed, but cence of those uncuirivated nations who equally fond of happinels with the most live without learning; urge the nume. retined philosopher of China. The rous vices which are to be found only in earth lies uncultivated and uninhabited polished fociety; enlarge upon the op- for miles around him; his little family preslion, the cruelty, and the blood and he the fole and undisputed poffeffors. which mutt neceffarily be thed, in order In such circumstances, Nature and Rea. to cement civil society; and inlift upon ton will induce him to prefer a hunter's the happy equality of conditions in a life to that of cultivating the earth. He barbarous itate, preferall- to the unna- will certainly adhere to that manner of tural subordination of a more refined living which is carried on at the smallest conftitution.

expence of labour, and that food which This dispute, which has already given is most agreeable to the appetite; he will so much employment to speculative in- prefer indolent, though precarious lux. dolence, has been managed with much ury, to a laborious, though permanent ardour, and (not to suppress our fenti- competence; and a knowledge of his ments) with but little fagacity. They own happiness will determine him to who inhift that the fciences are useful in persevere in native barbarity. refined society, are cerainly right, and In like manner, his happiness will in. they who maintain that barbarous na- cline him to bind bimself by no law. tions are more happy without them, are Laws are made in order to secure present right also; but when one side, for this property ; but he is possessed of nio pro. reason, attempts to prove them as unic perty which he is afraid to lose, and deYerially useful to the Solitary barbarian, lures no more than will be sufficient to

fustain

fuftain him: to enter into compacts and commerce, he finds himself no way with others, would be undergoing a ro- interested in either. A discovery which luntary offigation without the expect- some have pursued at the hazard of their ance of any reward. He and his coun- lives, affects him with neither afonithtrymin are tenants, not rivals, in the m. nt nor pleasure. He is fatisfied with fame inexhaullible foreit; the encreased thoroughly understanding the few obporfillions of one by no neans dimin jees which contribute to his own feli. nishes the expectations arising from equal city, he knows the properest places allicuity in another, there are no need where to lay the scare for the table, and of laws, therefore, to repreis ambition, difcerns the value of furs with more where ibere can be no mischief attends than European fagacity. More extending it's molt boundless gratifications. ed knowledge would only serve to ren

Our folitary Siberian will, in like der him unhappy; it might lend a ray manner, find the sciences not only en- to shew him the misery of his situation, tirely neleis in directing his practice, but could not guide hiin in his efforts to but disgusting even in speculation. In avoid it. Ignorance is the happiness of every contemplation, our curiosity must the podr. be first excited by the appearances of The misery of a being endowed with things, before our reason undergoes the sentiments above it’s capacity of frufatigue of investigating the causes. Some ition, is most admirably described in one of those appearances are produced by of the fables of Locman the Indian moexperiment, others by minute enquiry; ralift. An elephant that had been fome arise from a knowledge of foreign peculiarly serviceable in fighting the climates, and others from an intimate battles of Wisłnow, was ordered by the ftudy of our own. But there are few god to with for whatever he thought objects, in comparison, which present proper, and the desire should be attendthemselves to the inhabitant of a barba- ed with immediate gratification. The rous country; the game he hunts, or elephant thanked his benefactor on bendthe transient coltage he builds, make up ed knees, and desired to be endowed the chief objects of his concern; his with the reason and the faculties of a curiolity, therefore, must be propor- Wiltnow was sorry to hear the rionably less; and if that is diminished, foolish request, and endeavoured to dilthe reasoning faculty will be diminished suade him from his misplaced ambition; in proportion.

but finding it to no purpose, gave him Besides, sensual enjoyment adds wings at lait such a portion of wisdom as could to curiosity. We consider few objects correct even the Zendaveita of Zoroaster. with ardent attention, but those which The reasoning elephant went away re. have some connection with our wishes, joicing in his new acquisition ; and our pleasures, or our necessities. A though his body ftill retained it's andesire of enjoyment first interests our cient form, he found his appetites and pasions in the pursuit, points out the passions entirely altered. He first conobject of investigation, and reafon then lidered, that it would not only be more comments where sense has led the way, comfortable, but also more becoming, An encrease in the number of our enjoy- to wear cloaths; but, unhappily, he had ments, therefore, necessarily produces no method of making them himself, nor an encrease of scientific research; but in had he the use of speech to demand them countries where almost every enjoyment from others; and this was the first time is wanting, reason there seems deftitute he felt real anxiety. He soon perceived of it's great inspirer, and speculation is how much more elegantly men were fed the business of fools when it becomes than he, therefore he began to loath his it's own reward,

usual food, and longed for those deliThe bau barous Siberian is too wise, cacies which adorn the tables of prioces; therefore, to exhault his time in quelt but here again he found it imposible to of knowledge, which neither curiofity be satisfied; for though he could easily prompts, nor pleasure impels, him to obtain flesh, yet he found it impollibie pursue. When told of the exact ad. to drtis it in any degree of perfection. measurement of a degree upon the equa- In short, every pleasure that contributed tor at Quito, he feels no pleasure in the to the felicity of mankind, served only account; when informed that such a to render him more miferable, as he discovery tends to promote navigation found himfelf utterly deprived of the

man.

power

power of enjoyment. In this manner must go through the different tages of he led a repining, discontented life, de- huntei, mepherd, and husband nan: testing himself, and displeased with his then, when property becomas valuable, ill-judged ambition; till at last his be. and consequently gives cause for injustice; nefactor, Wiltnow, taking compaion then, when laws are appointed to reon his forlorn situation, reitored him to press injury, and fecure poffellion; when the ignorance and the happiness which men, by the fanction of those laws, bes, he was originally formed to enjoy.' come possesei of superfluity; when lux.

No, my friend, to attempt to intro- ury is thus introduced, and demands duce the sciences into a nation of wan- it's continual supply; then it is that the dering barbarians, is only to render sciences become necessary and useful; them more miserable than even Nature the state then cannot fubfiit without designed they should be. A life of them; they must then be introduced, at fimplicity is best fitted to a state of fo. once to teach men to draw the greatest litude.

possible quantity of pleasure froin cira The great law-giver of Russia at. cumscribed poflesion, and to restrain tempted to improve the desolate inhabi- them within the bounds of moderate entants of Siberia, by sending among joyment. them some of the politelt men of Eu- The sciences are not the cause of lux. rope. The consequence has shewn, that ury, but it's consequence; and this dethe country was as yet unfit to receive stroyer thus brings with it an antidote them; they languished, for a time, with which refiits the virulence of it's own a sort of exotic malady; every day de- poison. By aserting that luxury introgenerated from themselves; and at last, duces the sciences, we allert a truth; instead of rendering the country more but if, with thofe who reject the utility polite, they conformed to the soil, and of learning, we assert that the sciences put on barbarity.

also introduce luxury, we shall be at No, my friend, in order to make the once falle, absurd, and ridiculous. sciences useful in any country, it muit

Adieu, first become populous; the inhabitant

LETTER LXXXIII,

FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO HINGPO, BY THE WAY OF MOSCOW.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

OU are now arrived at an age, man, being porre fed of more than he'

my son, when pleasure diffuades wants, can never be subject to great from application ; but rob not, by pre- • disappointments, and avoids all those fent gratification, all the fucceeding pe- • mean nefles which indigence fometines riod of life of it's happiness. Sacrifice unavoidably produces. a little pleasure at first to the expeéiance • There is unspeakable pleasure atof greater. The study of a few years • tending the life of a voluntary student. will make the rest of life complearly The first time I read an excellent book, easy.

it is to me just as if I had gained a But instead of continuing the subject new friend. When I read over a book myself, take the following instructions ' I have perused before, it resembles borrowed from a modern philosopher of " the meeting with an old one. We China". "He who has begun bis for- ought to lay hold of every incident in • tune by ftuly, will certainly confirm " lite for improvement, the trifiing as • it by perfcverance. The love of books ' well as the important. It is not one • damps the passion for pleasure, and • diamond alone which gives luftre to

when this passion is once extinguished, another, a common coarse stone is life is then cheaply supported : thus a ' allo employed for that purpose. Thus

A translation of this paffage may also be seen in Du Halde, Vol. Jl. Fol. p. 47, and

This extract will at lean Terve to fiew that fundness for humour which appears in the writings of the Chinese,

[ocr errors]

58.

6

I ought

[ocr errors]

" I ought to draw advantage from the lainy, are put in such strong lights,

intuits and contempt I meet with from as may inspire, even grown men, with • a worthless fellow. His brutality " the Itrongeit paflion; how much more

ought to induce me to self-examina. therefore ought the youth of either sex . tion, and correct every blemish that 'to dread them, whose reason is so

may have given rise to his calumny. ' weak, and whose hearts are so suscepti

: Yet with all the pleasures and pio- ' ble of passion? • fits which are generally produced by To nip in by a back-door, or leap

learning, parents often find it difficult ' a wall, are accomplifhments that, when to induce their children to study. handfumely let off, enchant a young They often feem dragged to what heart. It is trut, the plot is common.

wears the appeararce of application. • ly wound up by a marriage, con« Thus being dilatory in the beginning,

• cluded with the consent of parents, • all future hopes of eminence are en- ' and adjusted by every ceremony pre• tirely cut off. If they find themselves 'scribed by law. But as in the body, • obliged to write two lines more polite of the work there are many pillages • than ordinary, their pencil then ieems that offend good morals, overthrow • as heavy as a mill-stone, and they spend laudable customs, violate the laws, • ten years in turning two or three pe.. and destroy the duties molt effential to rious with propriety.

society, virtue is thereby exposed to ' Thele persons are moft at a loss the most dangerous attacks, . when a banquet is almost over; the ' But, say some, the authors of these

plate and the dice go round, that the romances have noihing in view, but

number of little verses which each is • to represent vice punished and virtue • obliged to repeat may be determined " rewarded. Granted. But will the ' by chance. The booby, when it greater number of readers take notice.

comes to his turn, appears quite ftu- ! of these punifhixents and rewards ?

pid and insensible. The company di- Are not their minds carried to fome « vert themselves with his confusion; 'thing elle? Can it be imagined that " and sneers, winks, and whispers, are the heart with which the author in. circulated at his' experce.

As for • spires the love of virtue, can overcoine him, he opens a pair of large heavy that crowd of thoughts which (way

eyes, ftares at all about him, and even " them to licentiouines? To be able to • offers to join in the laugh, without ever ' inculcate virtue by so leaky a vehicle,

conbdering himielf as the burtlen of the author muito be a philosopher af all their good humour.

“the firit rank. But in our age we can • But it is of no inportance to read find but few first-rate philofophers. ' much, except you be regular in your • Avoid such performances where vice

reading. If it be interrupted for any 'allumes the face of virtue; seek wif• confiderable time, it can never be at. dom and knowledge without ever • tended with proper improvement. " thinking you have found them. A I There are some who Hudy for one day man is wise, while he continues in the

with intense application, and spole pursuit of wisdoin; but when he once

themselves for ten days after. But "fancies that he has found the object . wisdom is a coquet, and must be court- of his enquiry, he then becomes a ed with unabating aftiduity.

' fool. Learn to pursue virtue from the " It was a faying of the ancients, that man that is blind, who never makes Sa man never opens a book without • tepwithout fivit examining the ground reaping some advantage by it. I say with his staff. I with them, that every book can ferve

• The world is like a vast fea, mans « to make us more expert, except ro- • kind like a vestel lailing on it's tema • mances, and these are no better than peituous botom. Qur prudence is it's

initruments of debauchery. They are 6 fails, the sciences terve us for 0315

dangerous fictions, where love is the good or bad fortune are the favowabla • ruling pallion.

(or contraty y winds, and judginent ja ." The most indecent strokes there • the rudder; without this ialt, the vde

pass for turns of wit; intrigue and “ lel is tofled by every billow, and will

criminal liberties for gallantry and po- • find thipwreck in every breeze. In a i litenets. Allignations, and even vila word, obicmily and indigence are the

6

parents

parents of vigilance and æconomy; purity and idleness; and impurity and • vigilance and ceconomy of riches and idleness again produce indigence and • honour; riches and honour of pride obscurity. Such are the revolutions • and luxury; pride and luxury of im- of life.'' Adieu.

LETTER LXXXIV.

FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO TUM HOAM, FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE

CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN CHINA.

I samry benchgrabe rame

, come to listen de , a every country the fame, fond of en- net, addressed to his cat, in which he joying the present, careless of the future; begs the light of her eyes to write by, his conversation that of a man of sense, being too poor to afford himself a candle. his actions those of a fool! of fortitude But Bentivoglio, poor Bentivoglio! able to stand unmoved at the bursting of chiefly demands our pity. His comedies an earthquake, yet of sensibility to be will last with the Italian language: he affected by the breaking of a tea-cup. dissipated a noble fortune in acts of Such is his character; which, confidered charity and benevolence; but falling in in every light, is the very opposite of to misery in his old age, was refused to that which leads to riches.

be admitted into an hospital which lie The poets of the West are as remark. himself had erected. able for their indigence as their genius ; In Spain, it is said, the great Cer: and yet, among the numerous hospitals vantes died of hunger; and it is certain, designed to relieve the poor, I have that the famous Camoens ended his days heard of but one erected for the benefit in an hospital. of decayed authors. This was founded If we turn to France, we thall there by Pope Urban VIII. and called the Re. find even tronger instances of the intreat of Incurables, intimating, that it gratitude of the public. Vaugelas, one was equally impossible to reclaim the of the politest writers, and one of the patients, who sued for reception, from honeftert men of his time, was firnamed poverty, or from poetry. To be sincere, the Owl, from his being obliged to keep were I to send you an account of the within all day, and venture out only lives of the Western poets, either an- by night, through fear of his creditors. cient or modern, I fancy you would His lait will is very remarkable. After think me employed in colleéting mate having bequeathed all his worldly subrials for an history of human wretched. stance to the discharging his debts, he ness.

goes on thus : ' But as there itill may Homer is the first poet and beggar of * remain some creditors unpaid, even note among the ancients; he was blind, after all that I have thall be disposed and sung bis ballads about the streets; of, in such a cale, it is my last will, but it is observed, that his mouth was • that my body thould be sold to the more frequently filled with verses than ' surgeons to the best advantage, and with bread. Plautus, the comic poet, ' that the purchase should go to the dir. was better off; he had two trades; he charging those debts which I owe to was à poet for his diversion, and helped • fociety; so that if I could not while to turn a mill in order to gain a liveli. living, at least when dead, I may be hood. Terence was a llave; and Boe- • useful.' thius died in a jail.

Cassander was one of the greatest gei Among the Italians, Paulo Burghese, niufes of his time; yet all his nerit almost as good a poet as Tafso, knew could not procure him a bare subfiftfourteen different trades, and yet died ence. Being by degrees driven into because he could get employment in an hatred of all mankind, from the none. Tasso himself, who had the most little pity he found among them, he amiable character of all poets, bas often even ventured at last ungratefully to been obliged to borrow a crown from impute his calamities to Providence. fome friend, in order to pay for a month's In his last agonies, when the prieit ene

т

created

« PredošláPokračovať »