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those which are yet to come. Yet experience and senfation in vain persuade ; hope more powerful than either, dresses out the distant prospect in fancied beauty ; some happiness in long perspective still beckens me to pursue; and, like a losing gamester, every new disappointment increases my ardour to continue the game.

Whence, my friend, this increased love of life, which grows upon us with our years; whence comes it, that we thus make greater efforts to preserve our existence, at a period when it becomes scarce worth the keeping ? Is it that nature, attentive to the preservation of mankind, increases our wishes to live, while she lessens our enjoy. ments; and, as she robs the senses of every pleasure, equips imagination in the spoil ? life would be insupportable to an old man, who, loaded with infirmities, feared death no more than when in the vigour of manhood; the numberless calamities of decaying nature, and the consciousness of surviving every pleasure, would at once induce him, with his own hand, to terminate the scene of misery; but happily the contempt of death forfakes him at a time when it could only be prejudicial; and life acquires an imaginary value, in proportion as its real value is no more.

Our attachment to every object around us increases, in general, from the length of our acquaintance with it. I would not chuse, says a French philosopher, to see an old post pulled up with which I have been long acquain. ted. A mind long habituated to a certain set of objeĉts insensibly becomes fond of seeing them, visits them from habit, and parts from them with reluctance; from hence proceed the avarice of the old in every kind of possession. They love the world and all that it produces, they love.

life and all its advantages, not because it gives them plea{ure, but because they have known it long.

Chinvang, the Chaste, ascending the throne of Chi. na commanded that all who were unjustly detained in prison during the preceding reigns, should be set free. Among the number who came to thank their deliverer on this occasion, there appeared a majestic old man, who falling at the Emperor's feet, addressed him as follows: Great father of China, behold a wretch, now eightyfive years old, who was shut up in a dungeon at the age of twenty-two. I was imprisoned, though a stranger to crime, or without being even confronted by my ac. cusers. I have now lived in solitude and darkness for more than fifty years, and am grown familiar with dis..! tress. As yet dazzled with the splendor of that fun to which you have restored me, I have been wandering the streets to find some friend that would assist, or reliere, or remember me; but my friends, my family, and re. lations, are all dead, and I am forgotten. Permit me then, O Chinvang, to wear out the wretched remains of life in my former prison; the walls of my dungeon are, to me, more pleasing than the most splendid palace; I have not long to live, and shall be unhappy except I spend the rest of my days where my youth was passed; in that prison from whence you were pleased to release me.”

The old man's passion for confinement is similar to that we all have for life. We are habituated to the prison, we look round with discontent, are displeased with the abode, and yet the length of our captivity only increases our fondness for the cell. The trees we have planted, the houses we have built, or the posterity we

have begotten, all serve to bind us closer to earth, and imbitter our parting. Life sues the young like a new acquaintance; the companion, as yet unexliausted, is at once instructive and amusing; it is company pleases, yet for all this it is but little regarded. To us who are declined in years, life appears like an old friend; its jefts have been anticipated in former conversation; it has no new story to make us smile, no new improvement with which to surprize, yet still we love it; destitute of every agreement, still we love it; husband the wasting treasure with increased frugality, and feel all the poignancy of anguish in the fatal separation.

Sir Phillip Mordaunt was young, beautiful, sincere, brave, an Englishman. He had a compleat fortune of his own, and the love of the king, his master, which was equivalent to riches. Life opened all her treasure before him, and promised a long succession of future happiness. He came, tasted of the entertainment, but was disgusted even in the beginning. He professed an aversion to living, was tired of walking round the same circle; had tried every enjoyment, and found them all grow weaker at every repetition. “ If life be in youth so displeasing, (cried he to himself,) what will it appear when age comes on; if it be at present indifferent, sure it will then be execrable.” This thought imbittered every reflection ; till at last, with all the serenity of perverted reason, he ended the debate with a pistol! Had this self-deluded man been apprized, that existence grows more desirable to us the longer we exist, he would have then faced old age without shrinking, he would have boldly dared to live, and served that society, by his future aslıduity, which he basely injured by his desertion. Adieu.

LETTER LXXIV.

FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN CHINA.

In reading the newspapers here, I have reckoned up not less than twenty-five great men, seventeen very great men, and nine very extraordinary men, in less than the compass of half a year. These, say the gazettes, are the men that posterity are to gaze at with admiration; these names that fame will be employed in holding up for the astonishment of succeeding ages. Let me see—forty-six great men in half a year amounts just to ninty-two in a year.-I wonder how posterity will be able to remember them all, or whether the people in future times, will have any other business to mind, but that of getting the catalogue by heart.

Does the mayor of a corporation make a speech, he is instantly set down for a great man. Does a pedant digest his common-place book into a folio, he quickly becomes great. Does a poet string up trite sentiments in rhyme, he also becomes the great man of the hour. How diminutive foever the object of admiration, each is followed by a crowd of ftill more diminutive admirers. The shout begins in his train, onward he marches towards immortality, looks back at the pursuing crowd with self satisfaction ; catching all the oddities, the whimsies, the absurdities, and the littlenesses of conscious greatness by the way.

Vol. 11.

I was yesterday invited by a gentleman to dinner, who promised that our entertainment should consist of a haunch of venison, a turtle, and a great man. I came according to appointment. The venison was fine, the turtle good, but the great man insupportable. The moment I ventured to speak, I was at once contradicted with a snap. I attempted, by a second and a third assault, to retrieve my loft reputation, but was still beat back with confusion. I was resolved to attack him once more from entrenchment, and turned the conversation upon the government of China: but even here he asserted, snapped, and contradicted as before. Heavens, thought I, this man pre

tends to know China even better than myself! I looked is round to see who was on my side, but every eye was

fixed in admiration on the great man; I therefore at last thought proper to sit silent, and act the pretty gentleman during the ensuing conversation.

When a man has once secured a circle of admirers, he may be as ridiculous here as he thinks proper; and it all passes for elevation of sentiment, or learned absence. If he transgresses the common forms of breeding, mistakes even a tea-pot for a tobacco-box, it is said, that his thoughts are fixed on more important objects; to speak and act like the rest of mankind, is to be no greater than they. There is something of oddity in the very idea of greatness, for we are seldom astonished at a thing very much resembling ourselves.

When the Tartars make a Lama, their first care is to place him in a dark corner of the temple; here he is to fit half concealed from view, to regulate the motion of his hands, lips, and eyes; but, above all, he is enjoin. ed gravity and filence. This, however, is but the pre

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