Page images

of every country, who desires to discover those dif- time I shall find them more opulent, more chariferences which result from climate, religion, edu- table, and more hospitable, than I at first imagined. cation, prejudice, and partiality? I begin to learn somewhat of their manners and

I should think my time very ill bestowed, were customs, and to see reasons for several deviations the only fruits of my adventures to consist in being which they make from us, from whom all other able to tell, that a tradesman of London lives in a nations derive their politeness, as well as their house three times as high as that of our great Em-original.

peror; that the ladies wear longer clothes than the In spite of taste, in spite of prejudice, I now bemen; that the priests are dressed in colours which gin to think their women tolerable. I can now we are taught to detest; and that their soldiers look on a languishing blue eye without disgust, and wear scarlet, which is with us the symbol of peace pardon a set of teeth, even though whiter than and innocence. How many travellers are there ivory. I now begin to fancy there is no universal who confine their relations to such minute and use-standard for beauty. The truth is, the manners less particulars! For one who enters into the ge- of the ladies in this city are so very open, and so nius of those nations with whom he has conversed; vastly engaging, that I am inclined to pass over the who discloses their morals, their opinions, the ideas more glaring defects of their persons, since comwhich they entertain of religious worship, the in- pensated by the more solid, yet latent beauties of trigues of their ministers, and their skill in sciences; the mind. What though they want black teeth, there are twenty who only mention some idle par- or are deprived of the allurements of feet no bigger ticulars, which can be of no real use to a true phi-than their thumbs, yet still they have souls, my losopher. All their remarks tend neither to make friend; such souls, so free, so pressing, so hospithemselves nor others more happy; they no way table, and so engaging.-I have received more incontribute to control their passions, to bear adver-vitations in the streets of London from the sex in sity, to inspire true virtue, or raise a detestation of one night, than I have met with at Pekin in twelve vice. revolutions of the moon. Men may be very learned, and yet very miser- Every evening, as I return home from my usual able; it is easy to be a deep geometrician, or a sub-solitary excursions, I am met by several of those lime astronomer, but very difficult to be a good well-disposed daughters of hospitality, at different man. I esteem, therefore, the traveller who in- times, and in different streets, richly dressed, and structs the heart, but despise him who only indul-with minds not less noble than their appearance. ges the imagination. A man who leaves home to You know that nature has indulged me with a mend himself and others, is a philosopher; but he person by no means agreeable; yet are they too who goes from country to country, guided by the generous to object to my homely appearance; they blind impulse of curiosity, is only a vagabond. feel no repugnance at my broad face and flat nose; From Zerdusht down to him of Tyanea, I honour they perceive me to be a stranger, and that alone all those great names who endeavour to unite the is a sufficient recommendation. They even seem world by their travels: such men grew wiser as to think it their duty to do the honours of the counwell as better, the farther they departed from home, try by every act of complaisance in their power. and seemed like rivers, whose streams are not only increased, but refined, as they travel from their


For my own part, my greatest glory is, that travelling has not more steeled my constitution against all the vicissitudes of climate, and all the depressions of fatigue, than it has my mind against the accidents of fortune, or the access of despair. Farewell.


To the same.

One takes me under the arm, and in a manner forces me along; another catches me round the neck, and desires to partake in this office of hospitality; while a third, kinder still, invites me to refresh my spirits with wine. Wine is in England reserved only for the rich: yet here even wine is given away to the stranger!

A few nights ago, one of these generous creatures, dressed all in white, and flaunting like a meteor by my side, forcibly attended me home to my own apartment. She seemed charmed with the elegance of the furniture, and the convenience of my situation: and well indeed she might, for I have hired an apartment for not less than two shillings of their money every week. But her civility did not rest here; for at parting, being desirous to know the hour, and perceiving my watch out of order, she kindly took it to be repaired by a relation of her own, which you may imagine will save I am every day better reconciled to the people some expense; and she assures me, that it will cost among whom I reside, and begin to fancy, that in her nothing. I shall have it back in a few days,

How insupportable, O thou possessor of heavenly wisdom, would be this separation, this immeasurable distance from my friend, were I not able thus to delineate my heart upon paper, and to send thee daily a map of my mind!

when mended, and am preparing a proper speech, they are employed first in debauching young virexpressive of my gratitude on the occasion: Ce- gins, and then punishing the transgression. lestial excellence, I intend to say, happy I am in From such a picture you will be apt to conclude, having found out, after many painful adventures, that he who employs four ladies for his amusement, a land of innocence, and a people of humanity: I has four times as much constitution to spare as he may rove into other climes, and converse with na- who is contented with one; that a mandarine is tions yet unknown, but where shall I meet a soul much cleverer than a gentleman, and a gentleman of such purity as that which resides in thy breast! than a player; and yet it is quite the reverse: a Sure thou hast been nurtured by the bill of the mandarine is frequently supported on spindle Shin Shin, or sucked the breasts of the provident shanks, appears emaciated by luxury, and is Gin Hiung. The melody of thy voice could rob obliged to have recourse to variety, merely from the the Chong Fou of her whelps, or inveigle the Boh weakness, not the vigour of his constitution, the that lives in the midst of the waters. Thy ser- number of his wives being the most equivocal vant shall ever retain a sense of thy favours; and symptom of his virility. one day boast of thy virtue, sincerity, and truth, among the daughters of China. Adieu.


To the Same.


Beside the country 'squire, there is also another set of men, whose whole employment consists in corrupting beauty; these, the silly part of the fair sex call amiable; the more sensible part of them, however, give them the title of abominable. will probably demand what are the talents of a man thus caressed by the majority of the opposite sex? what talents, or what beauty is he possessed of superior to the rest of his fellows? To answer I HAVE been deceived! She whom I fancied a you directly, he has neither talents nor beauty; but daughter of paradise, has proved to be one of the then he is possessed of impudence and assiduity. infamous disciples of Han! I have lost a trifle: With assiduity and impudence, men of all ages, I have gained the consolation of having discovered and all figures, may commence admirers. I have a deceiver. I once more, therefore, relax into my even been told of some who made professions of former indifference with regard to the English la- expiring for love, when all the world could perceive dies; they once more begin to appear disagreeable they were going to die of old age: and what is in my eyes. Thus is my whole time passed in more surprising still, such battered beaux are geforming conclusions which the next minute's ex-nerally most infamously successful. perience may probably destroy; the present moment becomes a comment on the past, and I improve rather in humility than wisdom.

A fellow of this kind employs three hours every morning in dressing his head, by which is understood only his hair.

He is a professed admirer, not of any particular lady, but of the whole sex.

He is to suppose every lady has caught cold every night, which gives him an opportunity of calling to see how she does the next morning.

Their laws and religion forbid the English to keep more than one woman; I therefore concluded that prostitutes were banished from society. I was deceived; every man here keeps as many wives as he can maintain: the laws are cemented with blood, praised and disregarded. The very Chi- He is upon all occasions to show himself in very nese, whose religion allows him two wives, takes great pain for the ladies; if a lady drops even a not half the liberties of the English in this particu-pin, he is to fly in order to present it.

He never speaks to a lady without advancing his mouth to her ear, by which he frequently addresses more senses than one.

lar. Their laws may be compared to the books of the Sibyls; they are held in great veneration, but seldom read, or seldom are understood; even those who pretend to be their guardians, dispute about Upon proper occasions, he looks excessively the meaning of many of them, and confess their tender. This is performed by laying his hand upon ignorance of others. The law, therefore, which his heart, shutting his eyes and showing his teeth. commands them to have but one wife, is strictly He is excessively fond of dancing a minuet with

He never affronts any man himself, and never

observed only by those for whom one is more than the ladies, by which is only meant walking round sufficient, or by such as have not money to buy the floor eight or ten times with his hat on, affecttwo. As for the rest, they violate it publicly, and ing great gravity, and sometimes looking tenderly some glory in its violation. They seem to think, on his partner. like the Persians, that they give evident marks of manhood by increasing their seraglio. A manda-resents an affront from another. rine, therefore, here generally keeps four wives, a He has an infinite variety of small talk upon all gentleman three, and a stage-player two. As for occasions, and laughs when he has nothing more the magistrates, the country justices and 'squires, to say.

Such is the killing creature who prostrates him- | are sent yearly from Pekin, abuse their authority, self to the sex till he has undone them: all whose and often take the wives and daughters of the insubmissions are the effects of design, and who to please the ladies almost becomes himself a lady.


To the Same.

habitants to themselves. The Daures, accustomed to base submission, feel no resentment at those injuries, or stifle what they feel. Custom and necessity teach even barbarians the same art of dissimulation that ambition and intrigue inspire in the breasts of the polite. Upon beholding such unlicensed stretches of power, alas! thought I, how little does our wise and good emperor know of

I HAVE hitherto given you no account of my these intolerable exactions! these provinces are too journey from China to Europe, of my travels through distant for complaint, and too insignificant to excountries, where nature sports in primeval rudeness, pect redress. The more distant the government, where she pours forth her wonders in solitude; the honester should be the governor to whom it is countries, from whence the rigorous climate, the intrusted; for hope of impunity is a strong inducesweeping inuudation, the drifted desert, the howl- ment to violation.

ing forrest and mountains of immeasurable height, The religion of the Daures is more absurd than banish the husbandman and spread extensive de- even that of the sectaries of Fohi. How would solation; countries, where the brown Tartar wan- you be surprised, O sage disciple and follower of ders for a precarious subsistence, with a heart that Confucius! you who believe one eternal intelligent never felt pity, himself more hideous than the Cause of all, should you be present at the barbarous wilderness he makes. ceremonies of this infatuated people! How would You will easily conceive the fatigue of crossing you deplore the blindness and folly of mankind! vast tracts of land, either desolate, or still more His boasted reason seems only to light him astray, dangerous by its inhabitants; the retreat of men and brutal instinct more regularly points out the who seem driven from society, in order to make path to happiness. Could you think it? they adore war upon all the human race; nominally professing a wicked divinity; they fear him and they worship a subjection to Muscovy or China, but without him; they imagine him a malicious Being, ready any resemblance to the countries on which they to injure and ready to be appeased. The men and depend. women assemble at midnight in a hut, which serves After I had crossed the great wall, the first ob- for a temple. A priest stretches himself on the jects that presented themselves were the remains ground, and all the people pour forth the most horof desolated cities, and all the magnificence of ve- rid cries, while drums and timbrels swell the innerable ruin. There were to be seen temples of fernal concert. After this dissonance, miscalled beautiful structure, statues wrought by the hand music, has continued about two hours, the priest of a master, and around, a country of luxuriant rises from the ground, assumes an air of inspiraplenty; but not one single inhabitant to reap the tion, grows big with the inspiring demon, and prebounties of nature. These were prospects that tends to a skill in futurity.

might humble the pride of kings, and repress hu- In every country, my friend, the bonzes, the man vanity. I asked my guide the cause of such brahmins, and the priests, deceive the people: all desolation. These countries, says he, were once reformations begin from the laity; the priests point the dominions of a Tartar Prince; and these ruins, us out the way to Heaven with their fingers, but the seat of arts, elegance and ease. This prince stand still themselves, nor seem to travel towards waged an unsuccessful war with one of the empe- the country in view. rors of China: he was conquered, his cities plun- The customs of this people correspond to their dered, and all his subjects carried into captivity. religion; they keep their dead for three days on the Such are the effects of the ambition of Kings! same bed where the person died; after which they Ten Dervises, says the Indian Proverb, shall sleep bury him in a grave moderately deep, but with the in peace upon a single carpet, while two Kings head still uncovered. Here for several days they is all quarrel, though they have kingdoms to divide present him different sorts of meats; which when them. Sure, my friend, the cruelty and the pride they perceive he does not consume, they fill up the of man have made more deserts than Nature ever grave, and desist from desiring him to eat for the made! she is kind, but man is ungrateful! future. How, how can mankind be guilty of such Proceeding in my journey through this pensive strange absurdity? to entreat a dead body, already scene of desolated beauty, in a few days I arrived putrid, to partake of the banquet! Where, I again among the Daures, a nation still dependent on repeat it, is human reason? not only some men, China Xaizigar is their principal city, which, but whole nations, seem divested of its illuminacompared with those of Europe, scarcely deserves tion. Here we observe a whole country adoring a the name. The governors, and other officers, who divinity through fear, and attempting to feed the

dead. These are their most serious and most re- never have been wise had they not been first luxu ligious occupations; are these men rational, or are rious: you will find poets, philosophers, and even not the apes of Borneo more wise? patriots, marching in luxury's train. The reason Certain I am, O thou instructor of my youth! is obvious: we then only are curious after knowthat without philosophers, without some few vir- ledge, when we find it connected with sensual haptuous men, who seem to be of a different nature piness. The senses ever point out the way, and from the rest of mankind, without such as these, reflection comments upon the discovery. Inform the worship of a wicked divinity would surely be a native of the desert of Kobi, of the exact measure established over every part of the earth. Fear of the parallax of the moon, he finds no satisfacguides more to their duty than gratitude: for one tion at all in the information; he wonders how any man who is virtuous from the love of virtue, from could take such pains, and lay out such treasures, the obligation that he thinks he lies under to the in order to solve so useless a difficulty: but connect Giver of all, there are ten thousand who are good it with his happiness, by showing that it improves only from the apprehensions of punishment. Could navigation, that by such an investigation he may these last be persuaded, as the Epicureans were, have a warmer coat, a better gun, or a finer knife, that Heaven had no thunders in store for the vil- and he is instantly in raptures at so great an imlain, they would no longer continue to acknowledge provement. In short, we only desire to know what subordination, or thank that Being who gave them we desire to possess; and whatever we may talk existence. Adieu.


To the same.

against it, luxury adds the spur to curiosity, and gives us a desire of becoming more wise.

But not our knowledge only, but our virtues are improved by luxury. Observe the brown savage of Thibet, to whom the fruits of the spreading pomegranate supply food, and its branches a habi

FROM such a picture of nature in primeval sim-tation. Such a character has few vices, I grant, plicity, tell me, my much respected friend, are you but those he has are of the most hideous nature: in love with fatigue and solitude! Do you sigh for rapine and cruelty are scarcely crimes in his the severe frugality of the wandering Tartar, or eye; neither pity nor tenderness, which ennoble regret being born amidst the luxury and dissimula- every virtue, have any place in his heart; he hates tion of the polite! Rather tell me, has not every his enemies, and kills those he subdues. On the kind of life vices peculiarly its own? Is it not a other hand, the polite Chinese and civilized Eurotruth, that refined countries have more vices, but pean seem even to love their enemies. I have just those not so terrible; barbarous nations few, and now seen an instance where the English have sucthey of the most hideous complexion? Perfidy and coured those enemies whom their own countrymen fraud are the vices of civilized nations, credulity actually refused to relieve. and violence those of the inhabitants of the desert. The greater the luxuries of every country, the Does the luxury of the one produce half the evils more closely, politically speaking, is that country of the inhumanity of the other! Certainly, those united. Luxury is the child of society alone; the philosophers who declaim against luxury have but luxurious man stands in need of a thousand differlittle understood its benefits; they seem insensible, ent artists to furnish out his happiness: it is more that to luxury we owe not only the greatest part of likely, therefore, that he should be a good citizen our knowledge, but even of our virtues. who is connected by motives of self-interest with so many, than the abstemious man who is united to none.

It may sound fine in the mouth of a declaimer, when he talks of subduing our appetites, of teaching every sense to be content with a bare sufficiency, In whatsoever light, therefore, we consider luxuand of supplying only the wants of nature; but is ry, whether as employing a number of hands, there not more satisfaction in indulging those ap- naturally too feeble for more laborious employment; petites, if with innocence and safety, than in re-as finding a variety of occupation for others who straining them? Am not I better pleased in en- might be totally idle; or as furnishing out new injoyment, than in the sullen satisfaction of thinking lets to happiness, without encroaching on mutual that I can live without enjoyment? The more property; in whatever light we regard it, we shall various our artificial necessities, the wider is our have reason to stand up in its defence, and the sencircle of pleasure; for all pleasure consists in obvi- timent of Confucius still remains unshaken, That ating necessities as they rise: luxury, therefore, as we should enjoy as many of the luxuries of life as it increases our wants, increases our capacity for are consistent with our own safety, and the proshappiness. perity of others; and that he who finds out a new Examine the history of any country remarkable pleasure is one of the most useful members of sofor opulence and wisdom, you will find they would 'ciety.


To the same.

tack a bastion, or deliberately noose himself up in his garters.

The passion of the Europeans for magnificent interments, is equally strong with that of the Chi

FROM the funeral solemnities of the Daures, who nese. When a tradesman dies, his frightful face

think themselves the politest people in the world, is painted up by an undertaker, and placed in a I must make a transition to the funeral solemnities proper situation to receive company: this is called of the English, who think themselves as polite as lying in state. To this disagreeable spectacle, all they. The numberless ceremonies which are used the idlers in town flock, and learn to loath the here when a person is sick, appear to me so many wretch dead, whom they despised when living. In evident marks of fear and apprehension. Ask an this manner, you see some who would have refused Englishman, however, whether he is afraid of a shilling to save the life of their dearest friend, death, and he boldly answers in the negative; but bestow thousands on adorning their putrid corpse. observe his behaviour in circumstances of approach-I have been told of a fellow, who, grown rich by ing sickness, and you will find his actions give his the price of blood, left it in his will that he should assertions the lie. lie in state; and thus unknowingly gibbeted himself into infamy, when he might have, otherwise, quietly retired into oblivion.

The Chinese are very sincere in this respect; they hate to die, and they confess their terrors; a great part of their life is spent in preparing things When the person is buried, the next care is to proper for their funeral. A poor artisan shall spend make his epitaph: they are generally reckoned best. half his income in providing himself a tomb twenty which flatter most; such relations, therefore, as years before he wants it; and denies himself the have received most benefits from the defunct, disnecessaries of life, that he may be amply provided charge this friendly office, and generally flatter in for when he shall want them no more. proportion to their joy. When we read those But people of distinction in England really de- monumental histories of the dead, it may be justserve pity, for they die in circumstances of the most ly said, that all men are equal in the dust; for, extreme distress. It is an established rule, never they all appear equally remarkable for being the to let a man know that he is dying: physicians are most sincere Christians, the most benevolent neighsent for, the clergy are called, and every thing bours, and the honestest men of their time. To passes in silent solemnity round the sick bed. The go through a European cemetery, one would be patient is in agonies, looks round for pity, yet not apt to wonder how mankind could have so basely a single creature will say that he is dying. If he degenerated from such excellent ancestors. Every is possessed of fortune, his relations entreat him to tomb pretends to claim your reverence and regret: make his will, as it may restore the tranquillity of some are praised for piety in those inscriptions, his mind. He is desired to undergo the rites of the who never entered the temple until they were dead; church, for decency requires it. His friends take some are praised for being excellent poets, who their leave only because they do not care to see him were never mentioned, except for their dulness, in pain. In short, a hundred stratagems are used when living; others for sublime orators, who were to make him do what he might have been induced never noted except for their impudence; and others to perform only by being told, Sir, you are past all still, for military achievements, who were never hopes, and had as good think decently of dying. in any other skirmishes but with the watch. Some Besides all this, the chamber is darkened, the even make epitaphs for themselves, and bespeak whole house echoes to the cries of the wife, the the reader's good-will. It were indeed to be wishlamentations of the children, the grief of the ser-ed, that every man would early learn in this manvants, and the sighs of friends. The bed is sur-ner to make his own; that he would draw it up in rounded with priests and doctors in black, and only terms as flattering as possible, and that he would flambeaux emit a yellow gloom. Where is the make it the employment of his whole life to deman, how intrepid soever, that would not shrink serve it. at such a hideous solemnity? For fear of affright- I have not yet been in a place called Westmining their expiring friends, the English practise all ister Abbey, but soon intend to visit it. There, I that can fill them with terror. Strange effect of am told, I shall see justice done to deceased merit: human prejudice, thus to torture, merely from mis-none, I am told, are permitted to be buried there, taken tenderness! but such as have adorned as well as improved manYou see, my friend, what contradictions there kind. There, no intruders, by the influence of are in the tempers of those islanders: when prompt- friends or fortune, presume to mix their unhallowed by ambition, revenge, or disappointment, they ed ashes with philosophers, heroes, and poets. Nomeet death with the utmost resolution: the very thing but true merit has a place in that awful sancman who in his bed would have trembled at the tuary. The guardianship of the tombs is commitaspect of a doctor, shall go with intrepidity to at-ted to several reverend priests, who are never guilty,

« PreviousContinue »