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till ladies, gentlemen, wife, husband, and all are mixed together in one inundation of arrack punch.
“Strike me dumb, deaf, and blind, cried my companion, but its very pretty; there's some sense in your Chinese ladies' condescensions; but among us, you shall scarce finù one of the whole sex that shall hold her good humour for three days together. No later than yesterday I happened to say some civil things to a citi. zen’s wife of my acquaintance, not because I loved her, but because I had charity; and what do you think was the tender creature's reply ? Only that she detested my pig-tail wig, high-heeled shoes, and fallow complex.
“ That is all, nothing more! Yes, by the heavens, though she was more ugly than an unpainted actress, I found her more infolent than a thorough bred woman of quality.”
He was proceeding in this wild manner, when his invective was interrupted by the man in black, who enter. ed the apartment, introducing his niece, a young lady of exquisite beauty. Her very appearance was sufficient to silence the severest satyrist of the sex; easy without pride, and free without impudence, she seemed capable of supplying every sense with pleasure; her looks, her conversation were natural and unconstrained; she had neither been taught to languish nor ogle, to laugh with. out a jest, or sigh without sorrow. I found that she had just returned from abroad, and had been conversant in the manners of the world. Curiosity prompted me to ask fe. veral questions, but she declined them all. I own I ne, ver found myself fo strongly prejudiced in favour of ap
parent merit before ; and could willingly have prolonged our conversation, but the company after some time withdrew. Just, however, before the little beau took his leave, he called me aside, and requested I would change him a twenty pound bill, which as I was incapable of doing, he was contented with borrowing half-a-crown. Adieu.
FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI TO HINGPO, BY THE
WAY OF MOSCOW.
TEW virtues have been more praised by moralifts than generosity; every practical treatise of ethics tends to increase our sensibility of the distresses of others, and to relax the grasp of frugality. Philosophers that are poor praise it because they are gainers by its effects; and the opulent Seneca himself has written a treatise on be, nefits, though he was known to give nothing away.
But among many who have enforced the duty of giving, I am surprised there are none to inculcate the igno. miny of receiving, to shew that by every favour we accept, we in some measure forfeit our native freedom, and that a state of continual dependance on the generosity of others is a life of gradual debasement.
Were men taught to despise the receiving obligations with the same force of reasoning and declamation that they are instructed to confer them, we might then see every person in society filling up the requisite duties of
his situation with cheerful industry, neither relaxed by hope, nor sullen from disappointment.
Every favour a man receives, in some measure, sinks him below his dignity, and in proportion to the value of the benefit, or the frequency of its acceptance, he gives up so much of his natural independance. He, therefore, who thrives upon the unmerited bounty of another, if he has any sensibility, suffers the worst of servitude; the shackled slave may murmur without reproach, but the humble dependant is taxed with ingratitude upon every symptom of discontent; the one may rave round the walls of his cell, but the other lingers in all the silence of mental confinement. To increase his distress, every new obligation but adds to the former load which kept the vigorous mind from rising; till at last, elastic no longer, it shapes itself to constraint, and puts on habitual fervility.
It is thus with the feeling mind, but there are some who, born without any share of sensibility, receive favour after favour, and still cringe for more, who accept the the offer of generosity with as little reluctance as the wages: of merit, and even make thanks for past benefits an indirect petition for new; such, I grant, can suffer no de. basement from dependance, since they were originally as vile as was possible to be; dependance degrades only the ingenious, but leaves the sordid mind in pristine mean. ness. In this manner, therefore, long continued generosity is misplaced, or it is injurious; it either finds a man worthless, or it makes him so; and true it is, that the person who is contented to be often obliged, ought not to have been obliged at all.
• Yet while I describe the meanness of a life of continued dependance, I would not be thought to include those natural or political subordinations which subsist in every society ; for in such, though dependance is exacted from the inferior, yet the obligation on either side is mutual. The son must rely upon his parent for support, but the parent lies under the same obligations to give that the other has to expect ; the subordinate officer must receive the commands of his superior, but for this obedience, the former has a right to demand an intercourse of favour; such is not the dependance I would depreciate, but that where every expected favour must be the result of mere benevolence in the giver, where the benefit can be kept without remorse or transferred without injustice. The character of a legacy-hunter, for instance, is deteftable in some countries, and despicable in all; this uni. versal contempt of a man who infringes upon none of the laws of society, some moralists have arraigned as a popular and unjust prejudice; never considering the ne. ,cessary degradations a wretch must undergo, who previously expects to grow rich by benefits, without having either natural or social claims to enforce his petitions.
But this intercourse of benefaction and acknowledgment is often injurious even to the giver as well as the receiver ; a man can gain but little knowledge of him. self, or of the world, amidst a circle of those whom hope or gratitude has gathered roulin him; their unceasing humiliations must necessarily increase his comparative magnitude, for all men measure their own abilities by those of their company; thus being taught to over-rate his merit, he in reality lessens it; increasing in confidance, but not in power, his professions end in empty boast, his undertakings in shameful disappointment.
It is, perhaps, one of the severest misfortunes of the great, that they are, in general obliged to live among men whose real value is lessened by dependance, and whose minds are enslaved by obligation. The humble companion may have at first accepted patronage with ge. nerous views, but soon he feels the mortifying influence of conscious inferiority, by degrees sinks into a flat. terer, and from flattery at last degenerates into stupid veneration. To remedy this, the great often dismiss their old dependants, and take new. Such changes are falsely imputed to levity, falsehood, or caprice in the patron, since they may be more juftly ascribed to the client's gradual deterioration.
No, my son, a life of independance is generally a life of virtue. It is that which fits the soul for every generous flight of humanity, freedom, and friendship. To give should be our pleasure, but to receive our shame ; serenity, health, and affluence attend the desire of rising by labour; misery, repentance, and disrespect, that of succeeding by extorted benevolence; the man who can thank himself alone for the happiness he enjoys is truly blest; and lovely, far more lovely the gloom of laborious indigence than the fawning fimper of thriving adulation. Adieu.