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THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
CHARLES LORD HALIFAX.
SIMILITUDE of manners and studies is usually mentioned as one of the strongest motives to affection and esteem; but the passionate veneration I have for your lordship, I think, flows from an admiration of qualities in you, of which, in the whole course of these papers, I have acknowledged myself incapable. While I busy myself as a stranger upon earth, and can pretend to no other than being a looker on, you are conspicuous in the busy and polite world, both in the world of men and that of letters: while I am silent and unobserved in public meetings, you are admired by all that approach you, as the life and genius of the conversation. What a happy conjunction of different talents meets in him whose whole discourse is at once animated by the strength and force of reason, and adorned with all the graces and embellishments of wit? When learning irraa diates common life, it is then in its highest use and perfection; and it is to such as your Jordship, that the sciences owe the esteem which they have
with the active part of mankind. Knowledge of books in recluse men, is like that sort of lantern which hides him who carries it, and serves only to pass through secret and gloomy paths of his own; but in the possession of a man of business, it is as a torch in the hand of one who is willing and able to show those who are bewildered, the way which leads to their prosperity and welfare. A generous concern for your country, and a passion for every thing which is truly great and noble, are what actuate all your life and actions; and I hope you will forgive me that I have an ambition this book may be placed in the library of so good a judge of what is valuable, in that library where the choice is such, that it will not be a disparagement to be the meanest author in it. Forgive me, my lord, for taking this occasion of telling all the world how ardently I love and honour you; and that I am, with the utmost gratitude for all your favou
No. 56. FRIDAY, MAY 4, 1711. By Addison.
Lucan. I. 1. v. 454.
THE Americans believe that all creatures have souls, not only men and women, but brutes, vegetables, nay, even the most inanimate things, as stocks and stones. They believe the same of all works of art, as of knives, boats, looking-glasses: and that as any of these things perish, their souls go into another world which is inhabited by the ghosts of men and women. For this reason they always place by the corpse of their dead friend a bow and arrows, that he may make use of the souls of them in the other world, as he did of their wooden bodies in this. How absurd soever such an opinion as this may appear, our European philosophers have maintained several notions altogether as improbable. Some of Plato's followers in particular, when they talk of the world of ideas, entertain us with substances and beings no less extravagant and chimerical. Many Aristotelians have likewise spoken as unintelligibly of their substantial forms. I shall only instance Albertus Magnus, who in his dissertation upon the loadstone, observing that fire will destroy its magnetic virtues, tells us that he took particular notice of one as it lay glowing amidst a heap of burning coals, and that he perceived a certain blue vapour to arise from it, which he believed might be the substantial form, that is, in our West Indian phrase, the soul of the loadstone.
There is a tradition among the Americans, that one of their countrymen descended in a vision to the great repository of souls, or, as we call it here, to the other world; and that upon his return he gave his friends a distinct account of every thing he saw among those regions of the dead. A friend of mine, whom I have formerly mentioned, prevailed upon one of the interpreters of the Indian kings, to inquire of them, if possible, what tradition they have among them of this matter: wbich, as well as he could learn by those many questions which he asked them at several times, was in substance as follows:
The visionary, whose name was Marraton, after having travelled for a long space under a hollow mountain, arrived at length on the confines of this world of spirits, but could not enter it by reason of a thick forest made up of bushes, brambles, and pointed thorns, so perplexed and interwoven with one another, that it was impossible to find a passage through it. Whilst he was looking about for some track or pathway, that might be worn in any part of it, he saw a huge lion couched under the side of it, who kept his eye upon him in the same posture as when he watches for his prey. The Indian immedịately started back, whilst the lion rose with a spring, and leaped towards him. Being wholly destitute of all other weapons, he stooped down to take