« ПредишнаНапред »
more formidable for the future, but which would impotent, as those individuals who are reduced from increase their opulence for the present; it was riches to poverty are of all men the most unforunanimously resolved, therefore, both by soldiers tunate and helpless. They had imagined, because and artisans, that those desolate regions should be their colonies tended to make them rich upon the peopled by colonies from Lao. When a trading first acquisition, they would still continue to do so; nation begins to act the conqueror, it is then per- they now found, however, that on themselves alone fectly undone it subsists in some measure by the they should have depended for support; that colosupport of its neighbours: while they continue to nies ever afforded but temporary affluence; and regard it without envy or apprehension, trade may when cultivated and polite, are no longer useful. flourish; but when once it presumes to assert as its From such a concurrence of circumstances they right what is only enjoyed as a favour, each coun- soon became contemptible. The Emperor Honti try reclaims that part of commerce which it has invaded them with a powerful army. Historians power to take back, and turns it into some other do not say whether their colonies were too remote channel more honourable, though perhaps less con- to lend assistance, or else were desirous of shaking venient. off their dependence; but certain it is, they scarcely
Every neighbour now began to regard with jeal-made any resistance: their walls were now found ous eyes this ambitious commonwealth, and forbade but a weak defence, and they at length were their subjects any future intercourse with them. obliged to acknowledge subjection to the empire of The inhabitants of Lao, however, still pursued the China.
To the Same.
same ambitious maxims: it was from their colonies Happy, very happy might they have been, had alone they expected riches; and riches, said they, they known when to bound their riches and their are strength, and strength is security. Numberless glory: had they known that extending empire is were the migrations of the desperate and enter-often diminishing power; that countries are ever prising of this country, to people the desolate do- strongest which are internally powerful: that colominions lately possessed by the Tartar. Between nies, by draining away the brave and enterprising, these colonies and the mother country, a very ad- leave the country in the hands of the timid and vantageous traffic was at first carried on: the re- avaricious; that walls give little protection, unless public sent their colonies large quantities of the manned with resolution; that too much commerce manufactures of the country, and they in return may injure a nation as well as too little; and that provided the republic with an equivalent in ivory there is a wide difference between a conquering and ginseng. By this means the inhabitants be- and a flourishing empire. Adieu. came immensely rich, and this produced an equal degree of voluptuousness; for men who have much money will always find some fantastical modes of enjoyment. How shall I mark the steps by which they declined? Every colony in process of time spreads over the whole country where it first was planted. As it grows more populous, it becomes THOUGH fond of many acquaintances, I desire more polite; and those manufactures for which it an intimacy only with a few. The man in black was in the beginning obliged to others, it learns to whom I have often mentioned, is one whose frienddress up itself: such was the case with the colonies ship I could wish to acquire, because he possesses of Lao; they, in less than a century, became a my esteem. His manners, it is true, are tinctured powerful and a polite people, and the more polite with some strange inconsistencies; and he may be they grew the less advantageous was the commerce justly termed a humorist in a nation of humorists. which still subsisted between them and others. By Though he is generous even to profusion, he afthis means the mother country being abridged in fects to be thought a prodigy of parsimony and its commerce, grew poorer but not less luxurious. prudence; though his conversation be replete with Their former wealth had introduced luxury; and the most sordid and selfish maxims, his heart is diwherever luxury once fixes, no art can either lessen [lated with the most unbounded love. I have known or remove it. Their commerce with their neigh-him profess himself a man-hater, while his cheek bours was totally destroyed, and that with their was glowing with compassion; and, while his looks colonies was every day naturally and necessarily were softened into pity, I have heard him use the declining; they still, however, preserved the inso-language of the most unbounded ill-nature. Some lence of wealth, without a power to support it, and affect humanity and tenderness, others boast of havpersevered in being luxurious, while contemptible ing such dispositions from nature; but he is the from poverty. In short, the state resembled one only man I ever knew who seemed ashamed of his of those bodies bloated with disease, whose bulk is natural benevolence. He takes as much pains to only a symptom of its wretchedness. hide his feelings, as any hypocrite would to conceal Their former opulence only rendered them more his indifference; but on every unguarded moment
the mask drops off, and reveals him to the most su- upon the poor petitioner, bid me stop, and he would perficial observer. show me with how much ease he could at any time detect an impostor.
He now therefore assumed a look of importance, and in an angry tone began to examine the sailor,
In one of our late excursions into the country, happening to discourse upon the provision that was made for the poor in England, he seemed amazed how any of his countrymen could be so foolishly demanding in what engagement he was thus disaweak as to relieve occasional objects of charity, bled and rendered unfit for service. The sailor when the laws had made such ample provision for replied in a tone as angrily as he, that he had been their support. In every parish-house, says he, the an officer on board a private ship of war, and that poor are supplied with food, clothes, fire, and a bed he had lost his leg abroad, in defence of those who to lie on; they want no more, I desire no more did nothing at home. At this reply, all my friend's myself; yet still they seem discontented. I am importance vanished in a moment; he had not a surprised at the inactivity of our magistrates, in not single question more to ask; he now only studied taking up such vagrants, who are only a weight what method he should take to relieve him unobupon the industrious : I am surprised that the peo- served. He had, however, no easy part to act, as ple are found to relieve them, when they must be he was obliged to preserve the appearance of illat the same time sensible that it, in some measure, nature before me, and yet relieve himself by reencourages idleness, extravagance, and imposture. lieving the sailor. Casting, therefore, a furious Were I to advise any man for whom I had the least look upon some bundles of chips which the fellow regard, I would caution him by all means not to be imposed upon by their false pretences: let me assure you, sir, they are impostors, every one of them, and rather merit a prison than relief.
carried in a string at his back, my friend demanded how he sold his matches; but, not waiting for a reply, desired in a surly tone to have a shilling's worth. The sailor seemed at first surprised at his He was proceeding in this strain earnestly, to demand, but soon recollected himself, and presentdissuade me from an imprudence of which I am ing his whole bundle, "Here, master," says he, seldom guilty, when an old man, who still had "take all my cargo, and a blessing into the bar about him the remnants of tattered finery, implored gain."
our compassion. He assured us that he was no It is impossible to describe with what an air of common beggar, but forced into the shameful pro- triumph my friend marched off with his new purfession, to support a dying wife, and five hungry chase: he assured me, that he was firmly of opichildren. Being prepossessed against such false-nion that those fellows must have stolen their goods, hoods; his story had not the least influence upon who could thus afford to sell them for half value. me; but it was quite otherwise with the man in He informed me of several different uses to which black: I could see it visibly operate upon his coun- those chips might be applied; he expatiated largely tenance, and effectually interrupt his harrangue. upon the savings that would result from lighting I could easily perceive that his heart burned to re- candles with a match, instead of thrusting them lieve the five starving children, but he seemed into the fire. He averred, that he would as soon ashamed to discover his weakness to me. While have parted with a tooth as his money to those he thus hesitated between compassion and pride, I vagabonds, unless for some valuable consideration. pretended to look another way, and he seized this can not tell how long this panegyric upon frugality opportunity of giving the poor petitioner a piece of and matches might have continued, had not his atsilver, bidding him at the same time, in order that tention been called off by another object more disI should not hear, go work for his bread, and not tressful than either of the former. A woman in tease passengers with such impertinent falsehoods rags, with one child in her arms and another on for the future. her back, was attempting to sing ballads, but with As he had fancied himself quite unperceived, he such a mournful voice, that it was difficult to decontinued, as we proceeded, to rail against beggars termine whether she was singing or crying. A with as much animosity as before; he threw in some wretch, who in the deepest distress still aimed at episodes on his own amazing prudence and econo-good-humour, was an object my friend was by no my, with his profound skill in discovering impos- means capable of withstanding: his vivacity and tors; he explained the manner in which he would his discourse were instantly interrupted; upon this deal with beggars were he a magistrate, hinted at occasion, his very dissimulation had forsaken him. enlarging some of the prisons for their reception, Even in my presence he immediately applied his and told two stories of ladies that were robbed by hands to his pockets, in order to relieve her; but beggar-men. He was beginning a third to the same guess his confusion when he found he had already purpose, when a sailor with a wooden leg once given away all the money he carried about him to more crossed our walks, desiring our pity, and former objects. The misery painted in the woman's blessing our limbs. I was for going on without visage, was not half so strongly expressed as the taking any notice, but my friend looking wistfully | agony in his. He continued to search for some
time, but to no purpose, till, at length recollecting | "I can not avoid imagining, that thus refined by himself, with a face of ineffable good-nature, as he his lessons out of all my suspicion, and divested of had no money, he put into her hands his shilling's even all the little cunning which nature had given worth of matches.
To the Same.
me, I resembled, upon my first entrance into the busy and insidious world, one of those gladiators who were exposed without armour in the amphitheatre at Rome. My father, however, who had only seen the world on one side, seemed to triumph in my superior discernment; though my whole stock of wisdom consisted in being able to talk like himself upon subjects that once were useful, because they were then topics of the busy world, but that now were utterly useless, because connected with the busy world no longer.
As there appeared to be something reluctantly good in the character of my companion, I must own it surprised me what could be his motives for thus concealing virtues which others take such pains to display. I was unable to repress my desire of "The first opportunity he had of finding his exknowing the history of a man who thus seemed to pectations disappointed, was in the very middling act under continual restraint, and whose benevo- figure I made in the university; he had flattered lence was rather the effect of appetite than reason. himself that he should soon see me rising into the It was not, however, till after repeated solicita- foremost rank in literary reputation, but was mortions he thought proper to gratify my curiosity. tified to find me utterly unnoticed and unknown. "If you are fond," says he, "of hearing hair- His disappointment might have been partly ascribbreath escapes, my history must certainly please; ed to his having overrated my talents, and partly for I have been for twenty years upon the very to my dislike of mathematical reasonings, at a time verge of starving, without ever being starved. when my imagination and memory, yet unsatisfied, were more eager after new objects, than desirous of reasoning upon those I knew. This did not, however, please my tutor, who observed, indeed, that I was a little dull; but at the same time allowed, that I seemed to be very good-natured, and had no harm in me.
My father, the younger son of a good family, was possessed of a small living in the church. His education was above his fortune, and his generosity greater than his education. Poor as he was, he had his flatterers still poorer than himself; for every dinner he gave them, they returned an equivalent in praise, and this was all he wanted. "After I had resided at college seven years, my The same ambition that actuates a monarch at the father died, and left me-his blessing. Thus shoved head of an army, influenced my father at the head from shore without ill-nature to protect, or cunning of his table; he told the story of the ivy-tree, and to guide, or proper stores to subsist me in so danthat was laughed at; he repeated the jest of the gerous a voyage, I was obliged to embark in the two scholars and one pair of breeches, and the company laughed at that; but the story of Taffy in the sedan-chair was sure to set the table in a roar: thus his pleasure increased in proportion to the pleasure he gave; he loved all the world, and he fancied all the world loved him.
wide world at twenty-two. But, in order to settle in life, my friends advised (for they always advise when they begin to despise us), they advised me, say, to go into orders.
"To be obliged to wear a long wig, when I liked a short one, or a black coat, when I generally "As his fortune was but small, he lived up to dressed in brown, I thought was such a restraint the very extent of it; he had no intentions of leav- upon my liberty, that I absolutely rejected the proing his children money, for that was dross; he was posal. A priest in England is not the same morresolved they should have learning; for learning, tified creature with a bonze in China: with us, not he used to observe, was better than silver or gold. he that fasts best, but eats best, is reckoned the For this purpose, he undertook to instruct us him- best liver; yet I rejected a life of luxury, indolence, self; and took as much pains to form our morals as and ease, from no other consideration but that to improve our understanding. We were told, that boyish one of dress. So that my friends were now universal benevolence was what first cemented so- perfectly satisfied I was undone; and yet they ciety; we were taught to consider all the wants of thought it a pity for one who had not the least mankind as our own; to regard the "human face harm in him, and was so very good-natured. divine" with affection and esteem; he wound us "Poverty naturally begets dependence, and I up to be mere machines of pity, and rendered us was admitted as flatterer to a great man. At first incapable of withstanding the slightest impulse I was surprised, that the situation of a flatterer at made either by real or fictitious distress; in a word, a great man's table could be thought disagreeable: we were perfectly instructed in the art of giving away thousands, before we were taught the more necessary qualifications of getting a farthing.
there was no great trouble in listening attentively when his lordship spoke, and laughing when he looked round for applause. This even good man
ners might have obliged me to perform. I found, sorry for that, cries the scrivener, with all my however, too soon, that his lordship was a greater heart; for they who want money when they come dunce than myself; and from that very moment to borrow, will always want money when they flattery was at an end. I now rather aimed at set- should come to pay. ting him right, than at receiving his absurdities
"From him I flew with indignation to one of the with submission: to flatter those we do not know, best friends I had in the world, and made the same is an easy task; but to flatter our intimate acquaint-request. Indeed, Mr. Dry-bone, cries my friend, ances, all whose foibles are strongly in our eye, is I always thought it would come to this. You know, drudgery insupportable. Every time I now open- sir, I would not advise you but for your own good; ed my lips in praise, my falsehood went to my con- but your conduct has hitherto been ridiculous in science: his lordship soon perceived me to be very the highest degree, and some of your acquaintance unfit for service; I was therefore discharged; my always thought you a very silly fellow. Let me patron at the same time being graciously pleased see, you want two hundred pounds. Do you only to observe, that he believed I was tolerably goodnatured, and had not the least harm in me.
want two hundred, sir, exactly? To confess a truth, returned I, I shall want three hundred; but then I have another friend, from whom I can borrow the rest. Why then, replied my friend, if you would take my advice (and you know I should not presume to advise you but for your own good), I would recommend it to you to borrow the whole sum from that other friend; and then one note will serve for all, you know.
"Disappointed in ambition, I had recourse to love. A young lady, who lived with her aunt, and was possessed of a pretty fortune in her own disposal, had given me, as I fancied, some reason to expect success. The symptoms by which I was guided were striking. She had always laughed with me at her awkward acquaintance, and at her aunt among the number; she always observed "Poverty now began to come fast upon me; yet that a man of sense would make a better husband instead of growing more provident or cautious, as than a fool, and I as constantly applied the obser- I grew poor, I became every day more indolent and vation in my own favour. She continually talked, simple. A friend was arrested for fifty pounds; I in my company, of friendship and the beauties of was unable to extricate him, except by becoming the mind, and spoke of Mr. Shrimp my rival's his bail. When at liberty, he fled from his credinigh-heeled shoes with detestation. These were tors, and left me to take his place. In prison I excircumstances which I thought strongly in my fa-pected greater satisfactions than I had enjoyed at vour; so, after resolving, and re-resolving, I had large. I hoped to converse with men in this new courage enough to tell her my mind. Miss heard world, simple and believing like myself, but I found my proposal with serenity, seeming at the same them as cunning and as cautious as those in the time to study the figures of her fan. Out at last world I had left behind. They sponged up my it came. There was but one small objection to money whilst it lasted, borrowed my coals, and complete our happiness, which was no more than never paid for them, and cheated me when I play-that she was married three months before to ed at cribbage. All this was done because they Mr. Shrimp, with high-heeled shoes! By way of believed me to be very good-natured, and knew that consolation, however, she observed, that though I had no harm in me. was disappointed in her, my addresses to her aunt would probably kindle her into sensibility: as the old lady always allowed me to be very good-natured and not to have the least share of harm in me.
"Upon my first entrance into this mansion, which is to some the abode of despair, I felt no sensations different from those I experienced abroad. I was now on one side the door, and those who "Yet still I had friends, numerous friends, and were unconfined were on the other: this was all to them I was resolved to apply. O Friendship! the difference between us. At first, indeed, I felt thou fond soother of the human breast, to thee we some uncasiness, in considering how I should be fly in every calamity; to thee the wretched seek for able to provide this week for the wants of the week succour; on thee the care-tired son of misery fond- ensuing; but, after some time, if I found myself ly relies; from thy kind assistance the unfortunate sure of eating one day, I never troubled my head always hopes relief, and may be ever sure of-dis- how I was to be supplied another. I seized every appointment! My first application was to a city- precarious meal with the utmost good-humour; scrivener, who had frequently offered to lend me indulged no rants of spleen at my situation; never money, when he knew I did not want it. I in-called down Heaven and all the stars to behold me formed him, that now was the time to put his dining upon a halfpenny-worth of radishes; my friendship to the test; that I wanted to borrow a very companions were taught to believe that I liked couple of hundreds for a certain occasion, and was salad better than mutton. I contented myself with resolved to take it up from him. And pray, sir, thinking, that all my life I should either eat white cried my friend, do you want all this money! In-bread or brown; considered all that happened was deed I never wanted it more, returned I. I am best; laughed when I was not in pain, took the
the world as it went, and read Tacitus often, for drive a trade they have been so long unfit for, and want of more books and company. swarming upon the gaiety of the age. I behold an "How long I might have continued in this tor- old bachelor in the most contemptible light, as an pid state of simplicity, I can not tell, had I not been animal that lives upon the common stock without roused by seeing an old acquaintance, whom I contributing his share: he is a beast of prey, and knew to be a prudent blockhead, preferred to a the laws should make use of as many stratagems, place in the government. I now found that I had and as much force, to drive the reluctant savage pursued a wrong track, and that the true way of into the toils, as the Indians when they hunt the being able to relieve others, was first to aim at in- rhinoceros. The mob should be permitted to dependence myself: my immediate care, therefore, halloo after him, boys might play tricks on him was to leave my present habitation, and make an with impunity, every well-bred company should entire reformation in my conduct and behaviour. laugh at him; and if, when turned of sixty, he of For a free, open, undesigning deportment, I put fered to make love, his mistress might spit in his on that of closeness, prudence, and economy. One face, or, what would be perhaps a greater punishof the most heroic actions I ever performed, and ment, should fairly grant the favour. for which I shall praise myself as long as I live, As for old maids, continued I, they should not was the refusing half-a-crown to an old acquaint-be treated with so much severity, because I supance, at the time when he wanted it, and I had it pose none would be so if they could. No lady in to spare for this alone I deserve to be decreed an her senses would choose to make a subordinate figure at christenings or lyings-in, when she might "I now therefore pursued a course of uninter- be the principal herself; nor curry favour with a rupted frugality, seldom wanted a dinner, and was sister-in-law, when she might command a husband; consequently invited to twenty. I soon began to nor toil in preparing custards, when she might lie get the character of a saving hunks that had money, a-bed, and give directions how they ought to be and insensibly grew into esteem. Neighbours made; nor stifle all her sensations in demure forhave asked my advice in the disposal of their mality, when she might, with matrimonial freedaughters; and I have always taken care not to dom, shake her acquaintance by the hand, and give any. I have contracted a friendship with an wink at a double entendre. No lady could be so alderman, only by observing, that if we take a far- very silly as to live single, if she could help it. I thing from a thousand pounds, it will be a thou- consider an unmarried lady, declining into the vale sand pounds no longer. have been invited to a of years, as one of those charming countries borpawnbroker's table, by pretending to hate gravy; dering on China, that lies waste for want of proper and am now actually upon treaty of marriage with inhabitants. We are not to accuse the country, a rich widow, for only having observed that the but the ignorance of its neighbours, who are insenbread was rising. If ever I am asked a question, sible of its beauties, though at liberty to enter and whether I know it or not, instead of answering, I cultivate the soil. only smile and look wise. If a charity is proposed, "Indeed, sir," replied my companion, "you are I go about with the hat, but put nothing in myself. very little acquainted with the English ladies, to If a wretch solicits my pity, I observe that the think they are old maids against their will. I dare world is filled with imposters, and take a certain venture to affirm, that you can hardly select one method of not being deceived, by never relieving. of them all, but has had frequent offers of marIn short, I now find the truest way of finding es-riage, which either pride or avarice has not made teem, even from the indigent, is to give away no- her reject. Instead of thinking it a disgrace, they thing, and thus have much in our power to give." take every occasion to boast of their former cruel
To the Same.
ty: a soldier does not exult more when he counts over the wounds he has received, than a female veteran when she relates the wounds she has formerly given: exhaustless when she begins a narrative of the former death-dealing power of her eyes. She tells of the knight in gold lace, who died LATELY, in company with my friend in black, with a single frown, and never rose again till-he whose conversation is now both my amusement was married to his maid; of the 'squire, who, being and instruction, I could not avoid observing the cruelly denied, in a rage flew to the window, and great numbers of old bachelors and maiden ladies lifting up the sash, threw himself in an agonywith which this city seems to be overrun. Sure, into his arm chair; of the parson, who, crossed in marriage, said 1, is not sufficiently encouraged, or love, resolutely swallowed opium, which banished we should never behold such crowds of battered the stings of despised love-by making him sleep. beaux, and decayed coquettes, still attempting to In short, she talks over her former losses with