Графични страници
PDF файл

fill he went on, complimenting him as the most mighly, the most valiant, and the most perfect of beings : Hold there, my friend, cries the lame emperor, hold there, till I have got another leg. In fact, the feeble or the despotic alone find pleasure in multiplying these pageants of vanity ; but strength and freedom have nobler aimns, and often find the finest adulation in majestic simplicity.

The young monarch of this country has already testified a proper contempt for several unmeaning appendages on royalty ; cooks and scullions have been obliged to quit their fires; gentlemen's gentlemen, and the whole tribe of necessary people, who did nothing, have been dismissed from further services. A youth, who can thus bring back fimplicity and frugality to a court, will soon probably have a true respect for his own glory, and while he has dismissed all useless employments, may disdain to accept of empty or degrading titles. Adieu.



V HENEVER I attempt to characterize the En. glish in general, some unforeseen difficulties constantly occur to disconcert my design; I hesitate between censure and praise : when I consider them as a reasoning philosophical people they have my applause; but when I reverse the medal, and observe their inconstancy and irresolution, I can scarcely persuade myself that I am observing the same people.

[ocr errors]

Yet, upon examination, this very inconstancy, so remarkable here, flows from no other source than their love of reasoning. The man who examines a complicated subject on every side, and calls in reason to his assistance, will frequently change; will find himself diftracted by opposing probabilities and contending proofs ; every alteration of place will diversify the prospect, will give some latent argument new force, and contribute to maintain an anarchy in the mind.

On the contrary, they who never examine with their own reason, act with more simplicity. Ignorance is po. sitive, instinct preserves, and the human being moves in safety within the narrow circle of brutal uniformity. What is true with regard to individuals, is not less so when applied to states. A reasoning government like this is in continual fluctuation, while those kingdoms, where men are taught not to controvert but to obey, continue always the same. In Afia, for instance, where the monarch's authority is supported by force, and acknowledged through fear, a change of government is entirely unknown. All the inhabitants seem to wear the same mental complexion, and remain contented with hereditary oppression. the fovereign's pleasure is the ul. timate rule of duty ; every branch of the administration is a perfect epitome of the whole; and if one tyrant is deposed, another starts up in his room to govern as his predeceffor. The English, on the contrary, instead of being led by power, endeavour to guide themselves by reason; instead of appealing to the pleasure of the prince, appeal to the original rights of mankind. What one “rank of men assert is denied by others, as the reasons on

opposite sides happen to come home with greater or less conviction. The people of Asia are directed by precedent, which never alters; the English by reason, which is ever changing its appearance. .

The disadvantages of an Asiatic government acting in this manner by precedent are evident; original errors are thus continued, without hopes of redress, and all marks of genius are levelled down to one standard, since no superiority of thinking can be allowed its exertion in mending obvious defects. But to recompense those de. fects, their governments undergo no new alterations, they have no new evils to fear, nor no fermentations in the constitution that continue: the struggle for power is foon over, and all becomes tranquil as before ; they are habituated to subordination, and men are taught to form no other desires than those which they are allowed to satisfy.

The disadvantages of a government acting from the immediate influence of reason, like that of England, are not less than those of the former. It is extremely difficult to induce a number of free beings to co-operate for their mutual benefit; every possible advantage will necessarily be fought, and every attempt to procure it must be attended with a new fermentation ; various reasons will lead different ways, and equity and advantage will often be out-balanced by a combination of clamour and prejudice. But though such a people may be thus in the wrong, they have been influenced by an happy delusion, their errors are seldom seen till they are felt; each man is himself the tyrant he has obeyed, and such a master he can easily forgive. The disadvantages he feels may in reality be equal to what is felt in the most despotic government; but man will bear every calamity with patience, when he knows himself to be the author of his own misfortunes.. Adieu,




M y long residence here begins to fatigue me; as
every object ceases to be new, it no longer continues to
be pleasing; some minds are so fond of variety, that
pleasure itfelf, if permanent, would be insupportable,
and we are thus obliged to solicit new happiness even
by courting distress : I only therefore wait the arrival of
my son to vary this trifling scene, and borrow new :
pleasure from danger and fatigue. A life, I own, thus
fpent in wandering from place to place, is at best but
empty dissipation. But to pursue trifles is the lot of hu.
manity; and whether we bustle in a pantomime, or strut
at a coronation ; whether we shout at a bonfire, or ha-
rangue in a senate-house; whatever object we follow, it
will at last surely conduct us to futility and disappoint.
ment. The wise bustle and laugh as they walk in the
pageant, but fools bustle and are important; and this
probably is all the difference between them.

This may be an apology for the levity of my former correspondence; I talked of trifles : and I knew that they were trifles to make the things of this life ridiculous, it was only sufficient to call them by their names.

In other respects I have omitted several striking circumstances in the description of this country, as fupposing them either already known to you, or as not being thoroughly known to myself: but there is one omis. fion for which I expect no forgiveness, namely, my being totally silent upon their buildings, roads, rivers, and mountains. This is a branch of science, on which all other travellers are so very prolix, that my deficiency will appear the more glaring. With what pleasure, for instance, do some read of a traveller in Egypt measur. ing a fallen column with his cane, and finding it ex. actly five feet nine inches long; of his creeping through the mouth of a catacomb, and coming out by a different hole from that he entered; of his stealing the finger of an antique statue, in spite of the janizary that watched him; or his adding a new conjecture to the hundred and fourteen conjectures, already published upon the names of Osiris and Isis.

Methinks I hear some of my friends in China de. manding a similar account of London and the adjacent villages and if I remain here much longer, it is probable I may gratify their curiosity. I intend, when run dry on other topics, to take a serious survey of the citywall; to describe that beautiful building the mansionhouse; I will enumerate the magnificent squares in which the nobility chiefly reside, and the royal palace appointed for the reception of the English monarch: nor will I forget the beauties of Shoe-lane, in which I myself have resided since my arrival. You shall find me no way inferior to many of my brother travellers in the arts of description. At present, however, as a specimen of this way of writing, I send you a few hafty remarks,

« ПредишнаНапред »