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falling. Alas! alas! cried I, fuch monuments as thefe confer honour not upon the great men, but upon little Roubillac.
Hitherto disappointed in my enquiry after the great of the present age, I was resolved to mix in company, and try what I could learn among critics in coffee-houses : and here it was that I heard my favourite names talked of even with inverted fame. A gentleman of exalted merit, as a writer, was branded in general terms as a bad man; another of exquifite delicacy, as a poet, reproached for wanting good nature; a third was accused of free. thinking ; and a fourth of having once been a player. Strange, cried I, how unjust are mankind in the distribution of fame; the ignorant, among whom I fought at first were willing to grant, but incapable of diftinguishing the virtues of those who deserved it; among those I now converse with, they know the proper objects of admi. ration, but mix envy with applause.
Disappointed so often, I was now resolved to examine those characters in person of whom the world talked so freely : by conversing with men of real merit, I began to find out those characters which really deserved, though they ftrove to avoid applause. I found the vulgar admi. ration entirely misplaced, and malevolence without its fting. The truly great, possessed of numerous small faults, and shining virtues, preserve a sublime in morals as in writing. They who have attained an excellence in either, commit numberless trangressions observable to the meanest understanding. The ignorant critic and dull remarker can readily spy blemishes in eloquence or morals, whose sentiments are not sufficiently elevated to observe a beauty ; but such are judges neither of books nor of life; they can diminish no solid reputation by their censure, nor bestow a lasting character by their applause: in short, I found by my search, that such only can confer real fame upon others who have merit themselves to deserve it. Adieu.
TO THE SAME.
I HERE are numberless employments in the courts of the eastern monarchs, utterly unpractised and unknown in Europe. . They have no such officers, for instance, as the emperor's ear-tickler, or tooth-picker; they have never introduced at the courts the mandarine appointed to bear the royal tobacco-box, or the grave director of the imperial exercitations in the seraglio. Yet I am surprised that the English have imitated us in none of thefe particulars, as they are generally pleased with every thing that comes from China, and excessively fond of creating new and useless employments. They have filled their houses with our furniture, their public gardens with our fire-works and their very ponds with our fish; our courtiers, my friend, are the fish, and the furniture they should have imported; our courtiers would fill up the necessary ceremonies of a court better than those of Eu. rope, would be contented with receiving large salaries for doing little, whereas some of this country are at present discontented though they receive large salaries for doing nothing.
I lately, therefore, had thoughts of publishing a proposal here, for the admission of some new eastern offices and titles into their court-register. As I consider myfelf in the light of a cosmopolite, I find as much satisfaction in scheming for the countries in which I happen to reside, as for that in which I was born.
The finest apartments in the palace of Pegu are fre. quently infested with rats. These the religion of the country ftri&tly forbids the people to kill. In such cir. cumstances, therefore, they are obliged to have recourse to some great man of the court, who is willing to free the royal apartments, even at the hazard of his salvation. After a weak monarch's reign, the quantity of court vermin in every corner of the palace is surprising, but a pru. dent king and a vigilant officer foon drives them from their fan&tuaries behind the mats and the tapestry, and effectually frees the court. Such an officer in England, would, in my opinion, be serviceable at this jun&ture ; for if, as I am told, the palace be old, much vermin must undoubtedly have taken refuge behind the wainscot and hangings. A minister should, therefore, be invested with the title and dignities of court-vermin killer ; he should have full power either to banish, take, poison, or destroy them, with enchantments, traps, ferrets, or ratsbane. He might be permitted to brandish his besom without remorse, and brush down every part of the furniture, without sparing a single cobweb, however sacred by long pre. scription. I communicated this proposal fome days ago in a company of the first distinction, and enjoying the most honourable offices of state. Among the number were the inspector of Great Britain, Mr. Henriques the director of the ministry, Ben. Vi&tor the treasurer, John Lockman the secretary, and the conductor of the Impe. rial Magazine. They all acquiesced in the utility of my proposal, but were apprehensive it might meet with some obstructions from court upholsterers and chambermaids, who would obje&t to it from the demolition of the furniture, and the dangerous use of ferrets and ratsbane.
My next proposal is rather more general than the former, and might probably meet with less opposition. Though no people in the world flatter each other more than the English, I know none who understand the art less, and flatter with such little refinement. Their panegyric, like a Tartar feast, is indeed served up with profusion, but their cookery is insupportable. A client here shall dress up a fricasee for his patron, that shall offend an ordinary nose before it enters the room. A town shall send up her address to a great minister, which shall prove at once a satire on the minister and themselves. If the favourite of the day fits, or stands, or sleeps, there are poets to put it into verse, and priests to preach it in the pulpit. In order, therefore, to free both those who praise, and those who are praised, from a duty probably disagreeable to both, I would constitute professed flatterers here as in several courts of India. These are ap. pointed in the courts of their princes to instruct the peo
ple where to exclaim with admiration, and where to lay į an emphasis of praise. But an officer of this kind is al.
ways in waiting when the emperor converses in a fami. liar manner among his rajahs and other nobility. At every sentence, when the monarch pauses, and smiles at what he has been saying, the Karamatman, as this officer is called, is to take it for granted, that his majesty has said a good thing. Upon which he cries out Kara.
mat! Karamat! a miracle! a miracle! and throws up his hands and his eyes in an ecstasy. This is echoed by the courtiers around, while the emperor sits all this time in sullen satisfaction,' enjoying the triumph of joke, or ftudying a new repartee.
I would have such an officer placed at every great man's table in England. By frequent practice, he might soon become a perfect master of the art, and in time would turn out pleasing to his patron, no way trouble. some to himself, and might prevent the nauseous attempts of many more ignorant pretenders. The clergy here, I am convinced, would relish this proposal. It would provide places for several of them. And indeed by some of their late productions, many appear to have qualified themselves as candidates for this office already.
But my last proposal I take to be of the utmost im. portance. Our neighbour, the empress of Russia has, you may remember, instituted an order of female knighthood. The empress of Germany has also instituted another; the Chinese have had such an order time immemorial. I am amazed the English have never come into such an institution. When I consider what kind of men are made knights here, it appears strange, that they have never conferred this honour upon women. They make cheese-mongers and pastry-cooks knights; then why not their wives? They have called up tallow. I chandlers to maintain the hardy profession of chivalry and arms; then why not their wives ? Haberdashers are sworn, as I suppose all knights must be sworn, never to fly in time of mellay or battle, to maintain and uphold the noble estate of chivalry with horse, harnish, and other knightly habiliments. Haberdashers, I say, are