« ПредишнаНапред »
FROM FUM HOAM TO LIEN CHI ALTANGI.
OU tell me the people of Europe are wise ? but where lies their wisdom ? You say they are valiant too; yet I have some reasons to doubt of their valour. They are engaged in war among each other, yet apply to the Russians, their neighbours, and ours for assistance. Cultivating such an alliance argues at once imprudence and timidity. All subsidies paid for such an aid is strength. ening the Russians, already too powerful, and weakening the employers, already exhausted by intestine commotions.
I cannot avoid beholding the Russian empire as the natural enemy of the more western parts of Europe; as an enemy already possessed of great strength, and, from the nature of the government, every day threatening to be. come more powerful. This extensive empire, which, both in Europe and Asia, occupies almost a third of the old world, was, about two centuries ago, divided into separate kingdoms and dukedoms, and from such a divi. sion, consequently feeble. Since the time, however, of Johan Basilides, it has increased in strength and extent ; and those untrodden forests, those innumerable favage animals, which formerly covered the face of the country are now removed, and colonies of mankind planted in their room. A kingdom thus enjoying peace internally, possessed of an unbounded extent of dominion, and learning the military art at the expence of others abroad, must
every day grow more powerful; and it is probable, we shall hear Russia, in future times, as formerly, called the Officina Gentium.
It was long the wish of Peter, their great monarch, to have a fort in some of the western parts of Europe; many of his schemes and treaties were directed to this end, but happily for Europe, he failed in them all. A fort in the power of this people, would be like the possession of a flood-gate; and whenever ambition, interest, or necessity prompted, they might then be able to deluge the whole world with a barbarous inundation.
Believe me, my friend, I cannot sufficiently contemn the politics of Europe, who thus make this powerful people arbitrators in their quarrel. The Russians are now at that period between refinement and barbarity, · which seems most adapted to military achievement; and if once they happen to get footing in the western parts of Europe, it is not the feeble efforts of the sons of ef. feminacy and diffention that can serve to remove them. The fertile valley and soft climate will ever be sufficient inducements to draw whole myriads from their native deserts, the trackless wild, or snowy mountain.
History, experience, reason, nature, expand the book of wisdom before the eyes of mankind, but they will not read. We have seen with terror a winged phalanx of familhed locusts, each singly contemptible, but from multitude become hidious, cover, like clouds, the face of day, and threaten the whole world with ruin. We have seen them settling on the fertile plains of India and Egypt, destroying in an instant, the labours and the hopes of nations! sparing neither the fruit of the earth, nor the verdure of the fields, and changing into a frightful
desert, landscapes of once luxuriant beauty. We have seen myriads of ants issuing together from the southern desert like a torrent, whose source was inexhaustible, succeeding each other without end, and renewing their destroyed forces with unwearied perseverance, bringing desolation wherever they came, banishing men and an. imals, and, when destitute of all subsistence, in heaps infecting the wilderness which they had made! Like these have been the migrations of men. When as yet savage, and almost resembling their brute partners in the forest, subject like them only to the instincts of nature, and directed by hunger alone in the choice of an abode, how have we seen whole armies starting wild at once from their forest and their dens; Goths, Huns, Vandals, Saracens, Turks, Tartars, myriads of men, animals in hu. man form, without country, without name, without laws, out-powering by numbers all opposition, ravaging cities, overturning empires, and after having destroyed whole nations, and spread extensive desolation, how have we seen them sink oppressed by some new enemy, more bar. barous and even more unknown than they! Adieu.
FROM `LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN CHINA,
Als the instruction of the fair sex in this country is entirely committed to the care of foreigners, as their language-masters, music-masters, hair-frizzers, and governesses, are all from abroad, I had some intentions of opening a female academy myself, and made no doubt, as I was quite a foreigner, of meeting a favourable reception.
In this I intended to instruct the ladies in all the conju. gal mysteries ; wives should be taught the art of managing husbands, and maids the skill of properly chusing them; I would teach a wife how far she might venture to be sick without giving disgust, she should be acquainted with the great benefits of the cholic in the stomach, and all the thorough bred insolence of fashion; maids should learn the secret of nicely distinguishing every competitor; they should be able to know the difference between a pe
dant and a scholar, a citizen and a prig, a squire and · his horse, a beau and his monkey; but chiefly, they
should be taught the art of managing their smiles, from the contemptuous fimper to the long laborious laugh.
But I have discontinued the project; for what would signify teaching ladies the manner of governing or chusing husbands, when niarriage is at present so much out of fashion, that a. lady is very well off who can get any husband at all. Celebacy now prevails in every rank of life; the streets are crouded with old bachelors, and the houses with ladies who have refused good offers, and are never likely to receive any for the future.
The only advice, therefore, I could give the fair sex, as- things stand at present, is to get husbands as fast as they can. There is certainly nothing in the whole creation, not even Babylon in ruins, more truly deplorable, than a lady in the virgin bloom of fixty-three, or a battered unmarried beau, who fquibs about from place to place,
Thewing his pig-tail-wig and his ears. The one appears to my imagination in the form of a double night-cap, or a roll of pomatum, the other in the shape of an electuary, or a box of pills.
I would once more, therefore, advise the ladies to get husbands. I would desire them not to discard an old lover without very sufficient reason, nor treat the new with ill-nature, till they know him false; let not prudes alledge the falseness of the sex, coquets the pleasures of long courtship, or parents the necessary preliminaries of penny for penny. I have reasons that would silence even a casuist in this particular. In the first place, there. fore, I divide the subject into fifteen heads, and then fic argumentor—but not to give you and myself the spleen, be contented at present with an Indian tale.
In a winding of the river Amidar, just before it falls into the Caspian sea, there lies an island unfrequented by the inhabitants of the continent. In this seclusion, blest with all that wild uncultivated nature could bestow, lived a princess and her two daughters. She had been wrecked upon the coast while her children as yet were infants, who, of consequence, though grown up, were entirely unacquainted with man. Yet, unexperienced as the young ladies were in the opposite sex, both early difcovered symptoms, the one of prudery, the other of being a coquet. The eldest was ever learning maxims of wisdom and discretion from her mamma, while the youngest employed all her hours in gazing at her own face in a neighbouring fountain. : Their usual amusement in this folitude was fishing: their mother had taught them all the secrets of the art: she shewed them which was the most likely places to