Page images

myself that the only original was in your lodship's Into what a state of misery are the modern Perpossession; I would advise you, however, to take sians fallen! A nation famous for setting the your's down, till its merit can be ascertained, my world an example of freedom is now become a land governor assuring me, that he intends to write a of tyrants, and a den of slaves. The houseless long dissertation to prove its originality. One Tartar of Kamtschatka, who enjoys his herbs and might study in this city for ages, and still find his fish in unmolested freedom, may be envied, if something new we went from this to view the compared to the thousands who pine here in hopecardinal's statues, which are really very fine; there less servitude, and curse the day that gave them were three spintria executed in a very masterly being. Is this just dealing, Heaven! to render manner, all arm in arm; the torse which I heard millions wretched to swell up the happiness of a you talk so much of, is at last discovered to be a few? can not the powerful of this earth be happy Hercules spinning, and not a Cleopatra bathing, without our sighs and tears? must every luxury of as your lordship had conjectured; there has been the great be woven from the calamities of the poor? a treatise written to prove it. It must, it must surely be, that this jarring dis

My Lord Firmly is certainly a Goth, a Van-cordant life is but the prelude to some future hardal, no taste in the world for painting. I wonder mony: the soul attuned to virtue here shall go how any call him a man of taste: passing through from hence to fill up the universal choir where the streets of Antwerp a few days ago, and ob- Tien presides in person, where there shall be no serving the nakedness of the inhabitants, he was tyrants to frown, no shackles to bind, nor no whips so barbarous as to observe, that he thought the to threaten; where I shall once more meet my best method the Flemings could take, was to sell father with rapture, and give a loose to filial piety; their pictures, and buy clothes. Ah, Cogline! where I shall hang on his neck, and hear the wisWe shall go to-morrow to Mr. Carwarden's cabi-dom of his lips, and thank him for all the happinet, and the next day we shall see the curiosities ness to which he has introduced me. collected by Van Rau, and the day after we shall pay a visit to Mount Calvary, and after thatbut I find my paper finished; so, with the most sincere wishes for your lordship's happiness, and with hopes, after having seen Italy, that centre of pleasure, to return home worthy the care and expense which has been generously laid out in my improvement, I remain, my Lord, yours," etc.


From Hingpo, a Slave in Persia, to Altangi, a travelling Philosopher of China, by the way of Moscow.

The wretch whom fortune has made my master has lately purchased several slaves of both sexes; among the rest I hear a Christian captive talked of with admiration. The eunuch who bought her, and who is accustomed to survey beauty with indifference, speaks of her with emotion! Her pride, however, astonishes her attendant slaves not less than her beauty. It is reported that she refuses the warmest solicitations of her haughty lord: he has even offered to make her one of his four wives upon changing her religion, and conforming to his. It is probable she can not refuse such extraordinary offers, and her delay is perhaps interded to enhance her favours.

FORTUNE has made me the slave of another, but I have just now seen her; she inadvertently apnature and inclination render me entirely subser-proached the place without a veil, where I sat vient to you: a tyrant commands my body, but you writing. She seemed to regard the heavens alone are master of my heart. And yet let not thy inflexi- with fixed attention; there her most ardent gaze ble nature condemn me when I confess, that I find was directed. Genius of the sun! what unexmy soul shrink with my circumstances. I feel my pected softness! what animated grace! her beauty mind not less than my body bend beneath the ri- seemed the transparent covering of virtue. Cegours of servitude; the master whom I serve lestial beings could not wear a look of more pergrows every day more formidable. In spite of fection, while sorrow humanized her form, and reason, which should teach me to despise him, his mixed my admiration with pity. I rose from the hideous image fills even my dreams with horror. bank on which I sat, and she retired; happy that none observed us; for such an interview might have been fatal.

A few days ago, a Christian slave, who wrought in the gardens, happening to enter an arbour, where the tyrant was entertaining the ladies of his I have regarded, till now, the opulence and the haram with coffee, the unhappy captive was in-power of my tyrant without envy. I saw him stantly stabbed to the heart for his intrusion. I with a mind incapable of enjoying the gifts of forhave been preferred to his place, which, though tune, and consequently regarded him as one loaded less laborious than my former station, is yet more rather than enriched with its favours; but at preungrateful, as it brings me nearer him whose pre-sent, when I think that so much beauty is reservsence excites sensations at once of disgust and ap-ed only for him; that so many charms should be prehension. lavished on a wretch incapable of feeling the great

ness of the blessing, I own I feel a reluctance to [and they fill his ears with praise. Beauty, all-comwhich I have hitherto been a stranger. manding beauty, sues for admittance, and scarcely But let not my father impute those uneasy sen-receives an answer: even love itself seems to wait sations to so trifling a cause as love. No, never upon fortune, or though the passion be only feigned, let it be thought that your son, and the pupil of the yet it wears every appearance of sincerity: and wise Fum Hoam, could stoop to so degrading a what greater pleasure can even true sincerity conpassion; I am only displeased at seeing so much fer, or what would the rich have more? excellence so unjustly disposed of.

Nothing can exceed the intended magnificence The uneasiness which I feel is not for myself, of the bridegroom, but the costly dresses of the bride: but for the beautiful Christian. When I reflect six eunuchs, in the most sumptuous habits, are to on the barbarity of him for whom she is designed, conduct him to the nuptial couch, and wait his I pity, indeed I pity her; when I think that she orders. Six ladies, in all the magnificence of Permust only share one heart, who deserves to com- sia, are directed to undress the bride. Their busimand a thousand, excuse me if I feel an emotion ness is to assist, to encourage her, to divest her of which universal benevolence extorts from me. As every encumbering part of her dress, all but the I am convinced that you take a pleasure in those last covering, which, by an artful complication of sallies of humanity, and particularly pleased with ribands, is purposely made difficult to unloose, and compassion, I could not avoid discovering the sen- with which she is to part reluctantly even to the sibility with which I felt this beautiful stranger's joyful possessor of her beauty.

distress. I have for a while forgot, in her's, the Mostadad, O my father! is no philosopher; and miseries of my own hopeless situation; the tyrant yet he seems perfectly contented with ignorance. grows every day more severe; and love, which soft- Possessed of numberless slaves, camels and women, ens all other minds into tenderness, seems only to he desires no greater possession. He never openhave increased his severity. Adieu.


From the Same.

THE whole haram is filled with a tumultuous joy; Zelis, the beautiful captive, has consented to embrace the religion of Mahomet, and become one of the wives of the fastidious Persian. It is impossible to describe the transport that sits on every face on this occasion. Music and feasting fill every apartment, the most miserable slave seems to forget his chains, and sympathizes with the happiness of Mostadad. The herb we tread beneath our feet is not made more for our use than every slave around him for their imperious master; mere machines of obedience, they wait with silent assiduity, feel his pains, and rejoice in his exultation. Heavens, how much is requisite to make one man happy!

ed the page of Mentius, and yet all the slaves tell me that he is happy.

Forgive the weakness of my nature, if I sometimes feel my heart rebellious to the dictates of wisdom, and eager for happiness like his. Yet why wish for his wealth with his ignorance? to be like him, incapable of sentimental pleasures, incapable of feeling the happiness of making others happy, incapable of teaching the beautiful Zelis philosophy?

What! shall I in a transport of passion give up the golden mean, the universal harmony, the unchanging essence, for the possession of a hundred camels, as many slaves, thirty-five beautiful horses, and seventy-three fine women? First blast me to the centre! degrade me beneath the most degraded! pare my nails, ye powers of Heaven! ere I would stoop to such an exchange. What! part with philosophy, which teaches me to suppress my passions instead of gratifying them, which teaches me even to divest my soul of passion, which teaches serenity in the midst of tortures! philosophy, by which even Twelve of the most beautiful slaves, and I among now I am so very serene, and so very much at ease, the number, have got orders to prepare for carry- to be persuaded to part with it for any other ening him in triumph to the bridal apartment. The joyment! Never, never, even though persuasion blaze of perfumed torches are to imitate the day; spoke in the accents of Zelis!

the dancers and singers are hired at a vast expense. A female slave informs me that the bride is to be The nuptials are to be celebrated on the ap-arrayed in a tissue of silver, and her hair adorned proaching feast of Barboura, when a hundred taels with the largest pearls of Ormus: but why tease of gold are to be distributed among the barren you with particulars, in which we both are so little wives, in order to pray for fertility from the ap- concerned. The pain I feel in separation throws proaching union. a gloom over my mind, which in this scene of uni

What will not riches procure! A hundred do-versal joy, I fear may be attributed to some other mestics, who curse the tyrant in their souls, are cause: how wretched are those who are, like me, commanded to wear a face of joy, and they are denied even the last resource of misery, their tears! joyful. A hundred flatterers are ordered to attend, Adieu.


From the Same.

ants from below gazed with wonder at his intrepidity; some applauded his courage, others censur ed his folly; still, however, he proceeded towards the place where the earth and heavens seemed to unite, and at length arrived at the wished-for height with extreme labour and assiduity.

I BEGIN to have doubts whether wisdom be alone sufficient to make us happy: whether every step we make in refinement is not an inlet into new His first surprise was to find the skies, not as he disquietudes. A mind too vigorous and active expected within his reach, but still as far off as beserves only to consume the body to which it is fore; his amazement increased when he saw a wide joined, as the richest jewels are soonest found to extended region lying on the opposite side of the wear their settings.

mountain, but it rose to astonishment when he beheld a country at a distance more beautiful and alluring than even that he had just left behind.

When we rise in knowledge, as the prospect widens, the objects of our regard become more obscure; and the unlettered peasant, whose views As he continued to gaze with wonder, a genius, are only directed to the narrow sphere around him, with a look of infinite modesty, approaching, offerbeholds Nature with a finer relish, and tastes her ed to be his guide and instructor. The distant blessings with a keener appetite than the philoso- country which you so much admire, says the anpher whose mind attempts to grasp a universal gelic being, is called the Land of Certainty: in that system. charming retreat, sentiment contributes to refine As I was some days ago pursuing this subject every sensual banquet; the inhabitants are blessed among a circle of my fellow-slaves, an ancient with every solid enjoyment, and still more blessed Guebre of the number, equally remarkable for his in a perfect consciousness of their own felicity: igpiety and wisdom, seemed touched with my conversation, and desired to illustrate what I had been saying with an allegory taken from the Zendavesta of Zoroaster: by this we shall be taught, says he, that they who travel in pursuit of wisdom walk only in a circle; and after all their labour, at last return to their pristine ignorance; and in this also we shall see, that enthusiastic confidence or unsat-darkness, and horrid with forests, cataracts, cav isfying doubts terminate all our inquiries.

norance in that country is wholly unknown; all there is satisfaction without allay, for every pleasure first undergoes the examination of reason. As for me, I am called the Genius of Demonstration, and am stationed here in order to conduct every adventurer to that land of happiness, through those intervening regions you see overhung with fogs and

erns, and various other shapes of danger. But follow me, and in time I may lead you to that distant desirable land of tranquillity.

In early times, before myriads of nations covered the earth, the whole human race lived together in one valley. The simple inhabitants, surrounded The intrepid traveller immediately put himself on every side by lofty mountains, knew no other under the direction of the genius, and both jourworld but the little spot to which they were confin- neying on together with a slow but agreeable pace, ed. They fancied the heavens bent down to meet deceived the tediousness of the way by conversathe mountain tops, and formed an impenetrable tion. The beginning of the journey seemed to wall to surround them. None had ever yet ven- promise true satisfaction, but as they proceeded tured to climb the steepy cliff, in order to explore forward, the skies became more gloomy and the those regions that lay beyond it; they knew the way more intricate; they often inadvertently apnature of the skies only from a tradition, which proached the brow of some frightful precipice, or mentioned their being made of adamant : traditions make up the reasonings of the simple, and serve to silence every inquiry.

the brink of a torrent, and were obliged to measure back their former way: the gloom increasing as they proceeded, their pace became more slow; they In this sequestered vale, blessed with all the paused at every step, frequently stumbled, and their spontaneous productions of Nature, the honeyed distrust and timidity increased. The Genius of blossom, the refreshing breeze, the gliding brook, Demonstration now therefore advised his pupil to and golden fruitage, the simple inhabitants seemed grope upon hands and feet, as a method, though happy in themselves, in each other; they desired more slow, yet less liable to error. no greater pleasures, for they knew of none great- In this manner they attempted to pursue their er; ambition, pride, and envy, were vices unknown journey for some time, when they were overtaken among them; and from this peculiar simplicity by another genius, who with a precipitate pace of its possessors, the country was called the Valley seemed travelling the same way. He was instantof Ignorance. ly known by the other to be the Genius of Probs

At length, however, an unhappy youth, more bility. He wore two wide extended wings at his aspiring than the rest, undertook to climb the back, which incessantly waved, without increasing mountain's side, and examine the. summits which the rapidity of his motion; his countenance bewere hitherto deemed inaccessible. The inhabit- trayed a confidence that the ignorant might mis

take for sincerity, and he had but one eye, which you may certainly expect to arrive at a region of was fixed in the middle of his forehead.


Servant of Hormizda, cried he, approaching the Thus saying, and the traveller's eyes being mortal pilgrim, if thou art travelling to the Land covered, the demon, muttering curses, raised him of Certainty, how is it possible to arrive there un- on his back, and instantly upborne by his strong der the guidance of a genius, who proceeds for- pinions, directed his flight among the clouds. Neiward so slowly, and is so little acquainted with the ther the loudest thunder, nor the most angry temway? Follow me, we shall soon perform the pest, could persuade the traveller to unbind his journey to where every pleasure waits our arrival. eyes. The demon directed his flight downwards, The peremptory tone in which this genius spoke, and skimmed the surface of the ocean; a thousand and the speed with which he moved forward, in- voices, some with loud invectives, others in the duced the traveller to change his conductor, and sarcastic tones of contempt, vainly endeavoured to leaving his modest companion behind, he proceed- persuade him to look round; but he still continued ed forward with his more confident director, seem to keep his eyes covered, and would in all probaing not a little pleased at the increased velocity of bility have arrived at the happy land, had not flathis motion. tery effected what other means could not perform. But soon he found reasons to repent. When- For now he heard himself welcomed on every side ever a torrent crossed their way, his guide taught to the promised land, and a universal shout of joy him to despise the obstacle by plunging him in; was sent forth at his safe arrival. The wearied whenever a precipice presented, he was directed to traveller, desirous of seeing the long wished for fing himself forward. Thus each moment miracu- country, at length pulled the fillet from his eyes, lously escaping, his repeated escapes only served and ventured to look round him. But he had unto increase his temerity. He led him therefore loosed the band too soon; he was not yet above forward, amidst infinite difficulties, till they arrived half-way over. The demon, who was still hoverat the borders of an ocean, which appeared innavi- ing in the air, and had produced those sounds only gable from the black mists that lay upon its sur- in order to deceive, was now freed from his comface. Its unquiet waves were of the darkest hue, mission; wherefore throwing the astonished traveland gave a lively representation of the various agi-ler from his back, the unhappy youth fell headlong tations of the human mind. into the subjacent Ocean of Doubts, from whence

The Genius of Probability now confessed his he never after was seen to rise.

temerity, owned his being an improper guide to the Land of Certainty, a country where no mortal

had ever been permitted to arrive; but at the same


time offered to supply the traveller with another

conductor, who should carry him to the Land of From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, First President of the Confidence, a region where the inhabitants lived Ceremonial Academy at Pekin in China. with the utmost tranquillity, and tasted almost as WHEN Parmenio, the Grecian, had done somemuch satisfaction as if in the Land of Certainty. thing which excited a universal shout from the Not waiting for a reply, he stamped three times on surrounding multitude, he was instantly struck the ground, and called forth the Demon of Error, with the doubt, that what had their approbation a gloomy fiend of the servants of Arimanes. The must certainly be wrong; and turning to a philosoyawning earth gave up the reluctant savage, who pher who stood near him, Pray, sir, says he, parseemed unable to bear the light of the day. His don me; I fear I have been guilty of some abstature was enormous, his colour black and hideous, surdity.

his aspect betrayed a thousand varying passions, You know that I am not less than him a despiser and he spread forth pinions that were fitted for the of the multitude; you know that I equally detest most rapid flight. The traveller at first was shock-flattery to the great; yet so many circumstances ed at the spectre; but finding him obedient to su- have concurred to give a lustre to the latter part of perior power, he assumed his former tranquillity. the present English monarch's reign, that I can not I have called you to duty, cries the genius to the withhold my contribution of praise; I can not avoid demon, to bear on your back a son of mortality the acknowledging the crowd, for once, just in their over the Ocean of Doubts, into the Land of Con- unanimous approbation. fidence: I expect you'll perform your commission Yet think not that battles gained, dominion exwith punctuality. And as for you, continued the tended, or enemies brought to submission, are the genius, addressing the traveller, when once I have virtues which at present claim my admiration. bound this fillet round your eyes, let no voice of Were the reigning monarch only famous for his persuasion, nor threats the most terrifying, per- victories, I should regard his character with indifsuade you to unbind it in order to look round; keep ference: the boast of heroism in this enlightened the fillet fast, look not at the ocean below, and age is justly regarded as a qualification of a very

subordinate rank, and mankind now begin to look | punishment; however, he was arraigned, condemnwith becoming horror on these foes to man. The ed, and underwent the same degrading death with virtue in this aged monarch which I have at pre- the meanest malefactor. It was well considered sent in view, is one of a much more exalted nature, is one of the most difficult of attainment, is the least praised of all kingly virtues, and yet deserves the greatest praise; the virtue I mean is JUSTICE; strict administration of justice, without severity and without favour.

Of all virtues this is the most difficult to be practised by a king who has a power to pardon. All

that virtue alone is true nobility; and that he whose actions sink him even beneath the vulgar, has no right to those distinctions which should be the reward only of merit: it was perhaps considered that crimes were more heinous among the higher classes of people, as necessity exposes them to fewer temptations.

Over all the East, even China not excepted, a men, even tyrants themselves, lean to mercy when person of the same quality, guilty of such a crime, unbiassed by passions or interest; the heart natural-might, by giving up a share of his fortune to the ly persuades to forgiveness, and pursuing the dic-judge, buy off his sentence. There are several tates of this pleasing deceiver, we are led to prefer countries, even in Europe, where the servant is our private satisfaction to public utility. What a entirely the property of his master: if a slave kills thorough love for the public, what a strong com- his lord, he dies by the most excruciating tortures; mand over the passions, what a finely conducted but if the circumstances are reversed, a small fine judgment must he possess, who opposes the dic-buys off the punishment of the offender. Happy tates of reason to those of his heart, and prefers the the country where all are equal, and where those future interest of his people to his own immediate who sit as judges have too much integrity to receive satisfaction? a bribe, and too much honour to pity from a simili

wretches were suffered to live, and continue for years an equal disgrace to justice and nobility.

If still to a man's own natural bias for tender- tude of the prisoner's title or circumstances with derness, we add the numerous solicitations made their own. Such is England: yet think not that by a criminal's friends for mercy; if we survey a it was always equally famed for this strict impartiking not only opposing his own feelings, but re-ality. There was a time, even here, when title luctantly refusing those he regards, and this to softened the rigours of the law, when dignified satisfy the public, whose cries he may never hear, whose gratitude he may never receive, this surely is true greatness! Let us fancy ourselves for a To this day, in a neighbouring country, the great moment in this just old man's place, surrounded are often most scandalously pardoned for the most by numbers, all soliciting the same favour, a favour scandalous offences. A person is still alive among that nature disposes us to grant, where the induce- them who has more than once deserved the most ments to pity are laid before us in the strongest ignominious severity of justice. His being of the light, suppliants at our feet, some ready to resent blood royal, however, was thought a sufficient atonea refusal, none opposing a compliance; let us, I ment for his being a disgrace to humanity. This say, suppose ourselves in such a situation, and Iremarkable personage took pleasure in shooting at fancy we should find ourselves more apt to act the the passengers below from the top of his palace; character of good-natured men than of upright and in this most princely amusement he usually magistrates. spent some time every day. He was at length ar

What contributes to raise justice above all other raigned by the friends of a person whom in this kingly virtues is, that it is seldom attended with a manner he had killed, was found guilty of the due share of applause, and those who practise it charge, and condemned to die. His merciful monmust be influenced by greater motives than empty arch pardoned him, in consideration of his rank fame: the people are generally well pleased with a and quality. The unrepenting criminal soon after remission of punishment, and all that wears the renewed his usual entertainment, and in the same appearance of humanity; it is the wise alone who manner killed another man. He was a second are capable of discerning that impartial justice is the truest mercy: they know it to be very difficult, at once to compassionate, and yet condemn an object that pleads for tenderness.

I have been led into this common-place train of thought by a late striking instance in this country of the impartiality of justice, and of the king's inflexible resolution of inflicting punishment where it was justly due. A man of the first quality, in a fit either of passion, melancholy, or madness, murdered his servant: it was expected that his station in life would have lessened the ignominy of his

time condemned; and, strange to think, a second time received his majesty's pardon! Would you believe it? A third time the very same man was guilty of the very same offence; a third time, therefore, the laws of his country found him guilty:-I wish, for the honour of humanity, I could suppress the rest-a third time he was pardoned! Will you not think such a story too extraordinary for belief? will you not think me describing the savage inhabitants of Congo? Alas! the story is but too true; and the country where it was transacted regards itself as the politest in Europe! Adieu.

« PreviousContinue »