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astronomy, who have made it the study of their lives, with men who know half the knowable characters of words who wear scientifical caps and slippers, and who have gone through every literary degree with applause?” They accepted the challenge confident of success. The eclipse began; the Chinese produced a most splendid apparatus, and were fifteen minutes wrong; the missioner, with a single instrument, was exact to a second. This was convincing, but the court astronomers were not to be convinced; instead of acknowledging their error, they assured the emperor, that their calculations were certainly exact, but that the stranger, without nails, had actually bewitched the moon. “ Well then,”, cries the good emperor, smiling at their ignorance, “ you shall still continue to be servants of the moon, but I constitute this man her controller.”
China is thus replete with men, whose only pretensions to knowledge arise from external circumstances; and, in Europe, every country abounds with them in proportion to its ignorance. Spain and Flanders, who are behind the rest of Europe in learning, at least three centuries, have twenty literary titles and marks of distinction unknown in France or England; they have their Clarissimi and Preclarisimi, their Accuratissimi and Minutissimi ; a round cap entitles one student to argue, and a square cap permits another to teach ; while a cap with a tassel almost sanctifies the head it happens to cover. But where true knowledge is cultivated, these formalities begin to disappear ; 'the ermined cowl, the solemn beard, and sweeping train are laid aside; philosophers dress, and talk, and think like other men; and lamb-skin dressers,
and cap-makers and tail-carriers, now deplore a literary age.
For my own part, my friend, I have seen enough of presuming ignorance, never to venerate wisdom but where it actually appears. I have received literary titles and distinctions myself; and, by the quantity of my own wisdom, know how very little wisdom they can confer. Adieu.
FROM THE SAME.
1 HE time for the young king's coronation approaches; the great and the little world look forward with impa. tience. - A knight from the country, who has brought up his family to see and be seen on this occasion, has taken all the lower part of the house where I lodge. His wife is laying in a large quantity of filks, which the mercer tells her are to be fashionable next season; and miss, her daughter, has actually had her ears bored previous to the ceremony. In all this bustle of preparation I am considered as mere lumber, and have been shoved up two stories higher, to make room for others my landlady seems perfectly convinced are my betters; but whom, before me she is contented with only calling very good company.
The little beau, who has now forced himself into my intimacy, was yesterday giving me a most minute de. tail of the intended procession. All men are eloquent upon their favorite topics; and this seemed peculiarly
adapted to the size and turn of his understanding. His whole mind was blazoned over with a variety of glittering images, coronets, escutcheons, lace, fringe, tassels, stones, bugles, and spun glass. “ Here, cried he, Garter is to walk; and there Rouge Dragon marches with the escutcheons on his back. Here Clarencieux moves forward; and there Blue Mantle disdains to be left be. hind. Here the Aldermen march two and two; and there the undaunted champion of England, no way terri. fied at the very numerous appearance of gentlemen and ladies, rides forward in complete armour, and, with an intrepid air, throws down his glove, Ah! continues he, should any be so hardy as to take up that fatal glove, and so accept the challenge, we should see fine sport; the champion would shew him no mercy; he would soon teach him all his passes with a witness. However, I am afraid we shall have none willing to try it with him upon the approaching occasion, for two reasons; first because his antagonist would stand a chance of being killed in the single combat; and secondly, because if he escapes the champion's arm, he would certainly be hanged for treason. No, no, I fancy none will be so hardy as to dispute it with a champion like him inured to arms; and we shall probably see him prancing unmolested away, holding his bridle thus in one hand, and brandishing his dram cup in the other."..
Some men have a manner of describing which only wraps the subject in more than former obscurity; thus I was unable, with all my companion's volubility, to form a distinct idea of the intended procession. I was certain, that the inauguration of a king should be conducted with solemnity and religious awe; and I could not be persuaded that there was much solemnity in this de. scription. If this be true, cried I to myself, the people of Europe surely have a strange manner of mixing solemn and fantastic images together; pi&tures at once replete with burlesque and the sublime. At a time when the king enters into the most folemn compact with his people, nothing surely should be admitted to diminish from the real majesty of the ceremony. A ludicrous image brought in at such a time throws an air of ridicule upon the whole. It some way resembles a picture I have seen, designed by Albert Durer, where, amidst all the solemnity of that aweful scene, a deity judging, and a trembling world awaiting the decree, he has introduced a merry mortal trundling his scolding wife to hell in a wheel-barrow.
My companion, who mistook my silence during this interval of reflection, for the rapture of astonishment, proceeded to describe those frivolous parts of the shew that mostly struck his imagination; and to assure me, that if I stayed in this country some months longer, I should see fine things. “ For my own part, continued he, I know already of fifteen suits of clothes that would stand on one end with gold lace, all designed to be first shewn there; and as for diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and pearls, we shall see them as thick as brass nails in a fe. dan chair. And then we are all to walk so majestically thus; this foot always behind the foot before. The ladies are to fling nosegays; the court poets to scatter verses; the spectators are to be all in full dress; Mrs. Tibbs, in a new sacque, ruffles, and frenched hair : look where you will, one thing finer than another; Mrs. Tibbs courtesies to the dutchess; her grace returns the compli.
ment with a bow. Largess, cries the herald. Make room, cries the gentleman usher. Knock him down, cries the guard. Ah! continued he, amazed at his own description, what an astonishing scene of grandeur can art produce from the smallest circumstance, when it thus actually turns to wonder, one man putting on another man's hat."
I now found his mind was entirely set upon the fopperies of this pageant, and quite regardless of the real meaning of such costly preparations. “ Pageants,” says Bacon, “are pretty things; but we should rather study to make them elegant than expensive.” Processions, cavalcades, and all that fund of gay frippery, furnished out by taylors, barbers, and tire-women, mechanically influence the mind into veneration : an emperor in his night-cap would not meet with half the respect of an emperor with a crown. Politics resemble religion; attempting to divest either of ceremony is the most certain method of bringing either into contempt. The weak must have their inducements to admiration as well as the wise; and it is the busi. ness of a sensible government, to impress all ranks with a sence of subordination, whether this be affected by a diamond buckle, or a virtuous ediệt, a sumptuary law, or a glass necklace.
This interval of reflection only gave my companion fpirits to begin his description afresh; and as a greater inducement to raise my curiosity, he informed me of the vast sums that were given by the spectators for places. “ That the ceremony must be fine, (cries he,) is very evident from the fine price that is paid for seeing it. Se. veral ladies have assured me, they could willingly part with one eye, rather than be prevented from looking on with the other. Come, come, continues he, I have a