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From the Same.
ignorance alone for success; the more ignorant the tants of the country, from primitive simplicity, soon practitioner, the less capable is he thought of de- began to aim at elegance, and from elegance proceiving. The people here judge as they do in the ceeded to refinement. It was now found absoEast; where it is thought absolutely requisite that lutely requisite, for the good of the state, that the a man should be an idiot, before he pretend to be people should be divided. Formerly, the same hand either a conjuror or a doctor.
that was employed in tilling the ground, or in dressWhen a physician by inspiration is sent for, he ing up the manufactures, was also, in time of need, never perplexes the patient by previous examina- a soldier ; but the custom was now changed; for it tion; he asks very few questions, and those only was perceived, that a man bred up from childhood for form sake. He knows every disorder by in- to the arts of either peace or war, became more tuition; he administers the pill or drop for every eminent by this means in his respective profession. distemper ; nor is more inquisitive than the farrier The inhabitants were, therefore, now distinguished while he drenches a horse. If the patient lives, into artisans and soldiers; and while those im. then has he one more to add to the surviving list; proved the luxuries of life these watched for the if he dies, then it may be justly said of the patient's security of the people. disorder, that as it was not cured, the disorder was A country possessed of freedom has always two incurable.
sorts of enemies to fear; foreign foes, who attack its existence from without, and internal miscreants, who betray its liberties within. The inhabitants
of Lao were to guard against both. A country of LETTER XXV.
artisans were most likely to preserve internal liberty; and a nation of soldiers were fittest to repel a
foreign invasion. Hence naturally rose a division I was some days ago in company with a politi- of opinion between the artisans and soldiers of the cian, who very pathetically declaimed upon the kingdom. The artisans, ever complaining that miserable situation of his country: he assured me, freedom was threatened by an armed internal force, that the whole political machine was moving in a were for disbanding the soldiers, and insisted that wrong track, and that scarcely even abilities like their walls, their walls alone, were sufficient to rehis own could ever set it right again. "What have pel the most formidable invasion : the warriors, on we,” said he, " to do with the wars on the conti- the contrary, represented the power of the neighnent? we are a commercial nation ; we have only bouring kings, the combinations formed against to cultivate commerce, like our neighbours the their state, and the weakness of the wall, which Dutch; it is our business to increase trade by set- every earthquake might overturn. While this alting new colonies; riches are the strength of a na- tercation continued, the kingdom might be justly tion; and for the rest, our ships, our ships alone, said to enjoy its greatest share of vigour: every orwill protect us." I found it vain to oppose my der in the state, by being watchful over each other, ferble arguments to those of a man who thought contributed to diffuse happiness equally, and bahimself wise enough to direct even the ministry. lanced the state. The arts of peace flourished, nor I fancied, however, that I saw with more certainty, were those of war neglected : the neighbouring because I reasoned without prejudice: I therefore powers, who had nothing to apprehend from the begged leave, instead of argument, to relate a short ambition of men whom they only saw solicitous, history. He gave me a smile at once of conde- not for riches but freedom, were contented to traffic scension and contempt; and I proceeded as follows, with them: they sent their goods to be manufacto describe The Rise and DECLENSION OF THE tured in Lao, and paid a large price for them upon KINGDOM OF LAO.
their return. Vorthward of China, and in one of the doublings By these means, this people at length became of the great wall, the fruitful province of Lao en- moderately rich, and their opulence naturally injoyed its liberty, and a peculiar government of its vited the invader : a Tartar prince led an immense own. As the inhabitants were on all sides sur-army against them, and they as bravely stood up rounded by the wall, they feared no sudden inva- in their own defence; they were still inspired with sion from the Tartars; and being each possessed a love of their country; they fought the barbarous of property, they were zealous in its defence. enemy with fortitude, and gained a complete vic
The natural consequence of security and af-story. fuence in any country is a love of pleasure ; when From this moment, which they regarded as the the wants of nature are supplied, we seek after the completion of their glory, historians date their downconveniences; when possessed of these, we desire tal. They had risen in strength by a love of their the luxuries of life; and when every luxury is pro- country, and fell by indulging ambition. The vided, it is then ambition takes up the man, and country, possessed by the invading Tartars, seemed leates bim still something to wish for: the inhabi-Ito them a prize that would not only render them
more formidable for the future, but which would impotent, as those individuals who are reduced from increase their opulence for the present; it was riches to poverty are of all men the most unforunanimously resolved, therefore, both by soldiers tunate and helpless. They had imagined, because and artisans, that those desolate regions should be their colonies tended to make them rich upon the peopled by colonies from Lao. When a trading first acquisition, they would still continue to do so; nation begins to act the conqueror, it is then per- they now found, however, that on themselves alone fectly undone: it subsists in some measure by the they should have depended for support; that colosupport of its neighbours : while they continue to nies ever afforded but temporary affluence; and regard it without envy or apprehension, trade may when cultivated and polite, are no longer useful. flourish; but when once it presumes to assert as its From such a concurrence of circumstances they right what is only enjoyed as a favour, each coun- soon became contemptible. The Emperor Honti try reclaims that part of commerce which it has invaded them with a powerful army. Historians power to take back, and turns it into some other do not say whether their colonies were too remote channel more honourable, though perhaps less con- to lend assistance, or else were desirous of shaking venient.
off their dependence; but certain it is, they scarcely Every neighbour now began to regard with jeal- made any resistance: their walls were now found ous eyes this ambitious commonwealth, and forbade but a weak defence, and they at length were their subjects any future intercourse with them. obliged to acknowledge subjection to the empire of The inhabitants of Lao, however, still pursued the China. same ambitious maxims: it was from their colonies Happy, very happy might they have been, had alone they expected riches; and riches, said they, they known when to bound their riches and their are strength, and strength is security. Numberless glory: had they known that extending empire is were the migrations of the desperate and enter- often diminishing power; that countries are ever prising of this country, to people the desolate do- strongest which are internally powerful: that colominions lately possessed by the Tartar. Between nies, by draining away the brave and enterprising, these colonies and the mother country, a very ad- leave the country in the hands of the timid and vantageous traffic was at first carried on: the re- avaricious; that walls give little protection, unless public sent their colonies large quantities of the manned with resolution ; that too much commerce manufactures of the country, and they in return may injure a nation as well as too little; and that provided the republic with an equivalent in ivory there is a wide difference between a conquering and ginseng. By this means the inhabitants be. and a flourishing empire. Adieu. came immensely rich, and this produced an equal degree of voluptuousness; for men who have much money will always find some fantastical modes of enjoyment. How shall I mark the steps by which
LETTER XXVI. they declined ? Every colony in process of time spreads over the whole country where it first was planted. As it grows more populous, it becomes Though fond of many acquaintances, I desire more polite ; and those manufactures for which it an intimacy only with a few. The man in black was in the beginning obliged to others, it learns to whom I have often mentioned, is one whose friend. dress up itself: such was the case with the colonies ship I could wish to acquire, because he possesses of Lao; they, in less than a century, became a my esteem. His manners, it is true, are tinctured powerful and a polite people, and the more polite with some strange inconsistencies; and he may be they grew the less advantageous was the commerce justly termed a humorist in a nation of humorists. which still subsisted between them and others. By Though he is generous even to profusion, he afthis means the mother country being abridged in fects to be thought a prodigy of parsimony and its commerce, grew poorer but not less luxurious. prudence; though his conversation be replete with Their former wealth had introduced luxury; and the most sordid and sellish maxims, his heart is diwherever luxury once fixes, no art can either lessen (lated with the most unbounded love. I have known or remove it. Their commerce with their neigh-him profess himself a man-hater, while his cheek bours was totally destroyed, and that with their was glowing with compassion; and, while his looks colonies was every day naturally and necessarily were softened into pity, I have heard him use the declining ; they still, however, preserved the inso- language of the most unbounded ill-nature. Some lence of wealth, without a power to support it, and affect humanity and tenderness, others boast of havpersevered in being luxurious, while contemptible ing such dispositions from nature; but he is the from poverty. In short, the state resembled one only man I ever knew who seemed ashamed of his of those bodies bloated with disease, whose bulk is natural benevolence. He takes as much pains to only a symptom of its wretchedness.
hide his feelings, as any hypocrite would to conceal Their former opulence only rendered them more his indifference; but on every unguarded moment
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the mask drops off, and reveals him to the most su- / upon the poor petitioner, bid me stop, and he would perficial observer.
show me with how much ease he could at any time In one of our late excursions into the country, detect an impostor. happening to discourse upon the provision that was He now therefore assumed a look of importance, made for the poor in England, he seemed amazed and in an angry tone began to examine the sailor, how any of his countrymen could be so foolishly demanding in what engagement he was thus disaweak as to relieve occasional objects of charity, bled and rendered unfit for service. The sailor when the laws had made such ample provision for replied in a tone as angrily as he, that he had been their support. In every parish-house, says he, the an officer on board a private ship of war, and that poor are supplied with fool, clothes, fire, and a bed he had lost his leg abroad, in defence of those who to lie on; they want no more, 1 desire no more did nothing at home. At this reply, all my friend's myself; yet still they seem discontented. I am importance vanished in a moment; he had not a surprised at the inactivity of our magistrates, in not singte question more to ask; he now only studied taking up such vagrants, who are only a weight what method he should take to relieve him unobupon the industrious: I am surprised that the peo- served. He had, however, no easy part to act, as ple are found to relieve them, when they must be he was obliged to preserve the appearance of illat the same time sensible that it, in some measure, nature before me, and yet relieve himself by reencourages idleness, extravagance, and imposture. lieving the sailor. Casting, therefore, a furious Were I to advise any man for whom I had the least look upon some bundles of chips which the fellow regard, I would caution him by all means not to be carried in a string at his back, my friend demandel imposed upon by their false pretences : let me as- how he sold his matches; but, not waiting for a sure you, sir, they are impostors, every one of them, reply, desired in a surly tone to have a shilling's and rather merit a prison than relief.
worth. The sailor seemed at first surprised at his He was proceeding in this strain earnestly, to demand, but soon recollected himself, and presentdissuade me from an imprudence of which I am ing his whole bundle, “Here, master,” says he, seldom guilty, when an old man, who still had "take all my cargo, and a blessing into the bar. about him the remnants of tattered finery, implored gain.” our compassion. He assured us that he was no It is impossible to describe with what an air of common beggar, but forced into the shameful pro- triumph my friend marched off with his new purfession, to support a dying wife, and five hungry chase : he assured me, that he was firmly of opichildren. Being prepossessed against such false- nion that those fellows must have stolen their goods, boods; his story had not the least influence upon who could thus afford to sell them for half value. me; but it was quite otherwise with the man in He informed me of several different uses to which black: I could see it visibly operate upon his coun- those chips might be applied; he expatiated largely tenance, and effectually interrupt his harrangue. upon the savings that would result from lighting I could easily perceive that his heart burned to re- candles with a match, instead of thrusting them lieve the five starving children, but he seemed into the fire. He averred, that he would as soon ashamed to discover his weakness to me. While have parted with a tooth as his money to those he thus hesitated between compassion and pride, 1 vagabonds, unless for some valuable consideration. pretended to look another way, and he seized this I can not tell how long this panegyric upon frugality opportunity of giving the poor petitioner a piece of and matches might have continued, had not his atsilver, bidding him at the same time, in order that tention been called off by another object more disI should not hear, go work for his bread, and not tressful than either of the former. A woman in tease passengers with such impertinent falsehoods rags, with one child in her arms and another on for the future.
her back, was attempting to sing ballads, but with As he had fancied himself quite unperceived, he such a mournful voice, that it was difficult to decontinued, as we proceeded, to rail against beggars termine whether she was singing or crying. A with as muchanimosity as before; he threw in some wretch, who in the deepest distress still aimed at episodes on his own amazing prudence and econo- good-humour, was an object my friend was by no my, with his profound skill in discovering impos- means capable of withstanding: his vivacity and tors ; he explained the manner in which he would his discourse were instantly interrupted; upon this deal with beggars were he a magistrate, hinted at occasion, his very dissimulation had forsaken him.
some of the prisons for their reception, Even in my presence he immediately applied his and told two stories of ladies that were robbed by hands to his pockets, in order to relieve her; but beggar-men. He was beginning a third to the same guess his confusion when he found he had already purpose, when a sailor with a wooden leg once given away all the money he carried about him to more crossed our walks, desiting our pity, and former objects. The misery painted in the woman's blessing our limbs. I was for going on without visage, was not half so strongly expressed as the taking any notice, but my friend looking wistfully agony in his. He continued to search for some
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time, but to no purpose, till, at length recollecting/ "I can not avoid imagining, that thus refined by himself, with a face of ineffable good-nature, as he his lessons out of all my suspicion, and divested of had no money, he put into her hands his shilling's even all the little cunning which nature had given worth of matches.
me, I resembled, upon my first entrance into the busy and insidious world, one of those gladiators who were exposed without armour in the amphi
theatre at Rome. My father, however, who had LETTER XXVII.
only seen the world on one side, seemed to triumph in my superior discernment; though my whole
stock of wisdom consisted in being able to talk like As there appeared to be something reluctantly himself upon subjects that once were useful
, begood in the character of my companion, I must cause they were then topics of the busy world, but own it surprised me what could be his motives for that now were utterly useless, because connected thus concealing virtues which others take such pains with the busy world no longer. to display. I was unable to repress my desire of “The tirst opportunity he had of finding his erknowing the history of a man who thus seemed to pectations disappointed, was in the very middling act under continual restraint, and whose benevo- tigure I made in the university; he had flattered lence was rather the effect of appetite than reason. himself that he should soon see me rising into the
It was not, however, till after repeated solicita- foremost rank in literary reputation, but was mortions he thought proper to gratify my curiosity. titied to find me utterly unnoticed and unknown. "If you are fond,” says he, "of hearing hair- His disappointment might have been partly ascribbreath escapes, my history must certainly please; ed to his having overrated my talents, and partly for I have been for twenty years upon the very to my dislike of mathematical reasonings, at a time verge of starving, without ever being starved. when my imagination and memory, yet unsatisfied,
“My father, the younger son of a good family, were more eager after new objects, than desirous was possessed of a small living in the church of reasoning upon those I knew. This did not, His education was above his fortune, and his ge- however, please my tutor, who observed, indeed, nerosity greater than his education. Poor as he that I was a little dull; but at the same time allowwas, he had his flatterers still poorer than himself; ed, that I seemed to be very good-natured, and had for every dinner he gave them, they returned an no harm in me. equivalent in praise, and this was all he wanted. "After I had resided at college seven years, my The same ambition that actuates a monarch at the father died, and left me—his blessing. Thus shoved head of an army, influenced my father at the head from shore without ill-nature to protect, or cunning of his table; he told the story of the ivy-tree, and to guide, or proper stores to subsist me in so dan. that was laughed at; he repeated the jest of the gerous a voyage, I was obliged to embark in the two scholars and one pair of breeches, and the wide world at twenty-two. But, in order to settle company laughed at that; but the story of Taffy in life, my friends advised (for they always advise in the sedan-chair was sure to set the table in a when they begin to despise us), they advised me, roar: thus his pleasure increased in proportion to I say, to go into orders. the pleasure he gave; he loved all the world, and "To be obliged to wear a long wig, when I liked he fancied all the world loved him.
a short one, or a black coat, when I generally “As his fortune was but small, he lived up to dressed in brown, I thought was such a restraint the very extent of it; he had no intentions of leav- upon my liberty, that I absolutely rejected the proing his children money, for that was dross; he was posal. A priest in England is not the same morresolved they should have learning; for learning, tified creature with a bonze in China : with us, not he used to observe, was better than silver or gold. he that fasts best, but eats best, is reckoned the For this purpose, he undertook to instruct us him- best liver; yet I rejected a life of luxury, indolence, self; and took as much pains to form our morals as and ease, from no other consideration but that to improve our understanding. We were told, that boyish one of dress. So that my friends were now universal benevolence was what first cemented so- perfectly satisfied I was undone; and yet they ciety; we were taught to consider all the wants of thought it a pity for one who had not the least mankind as our own; to regard the "human face harm in him, and was so very good-natured. divine” with allection and esteem; he wound us "Poverty naturally begets dependence, and I up to be mere machines of pity, and rendered us was admitted as flatterer to a great man.
At first incapable of withstanding the slightest impulse I was surprised, that the situation of a flatterer at made either by real or fictitious distress ; in a word, a great man's table could be thought disagreeable : we were perfectly instructed in the art of giving there was no great trouble in listening attentively away thousands, before we were taught the more when his lordship spoke, and laughing when he necessary qualifications of getting a farthing. I looked round for applause. This even good man.
ners might have obliged me to perform. I found, sorry for that, cries the scrivener, with all my however, too soon, that his lordship was a greater heart ; for they who want money when they come dunce than myself; and from that very moment to borrow, will always want money when they flattery was at an end. I now rather aimed at set- should come to pay. ting him right, than at receiving his absurdities "From him I flew with indignation to one of the with submission : to flatter those we do not know, best friends I had in the world, and made the same is an easy task ; but to flatter our intimate acquaint-request. Indeed, Mr. Dry-bone, cries my friend, ances, all whoše foibles are strongly in our eye, is I always thought it would come to this. You know, drudgery insupportable. Every time I now open- sir, I would not advise you but for your own good; ed my lips in praise, my falsehood went to my con- but your conduct has hitherto been ridiculous in science: his lordship soon perceived me to be very the highest degree, and some of your acquaintance unfit for service; I was therefore discharged; my always thought you a very silly fellow. patron at the same time being graciously pleased see, you want two hundred pounds. Do you only to observe, that he believed I was tolerably good- want two hundred, sir, exactly? To confess a natured, and had not the least harm in me. truth, returned I, I shall want three hundred; but
“Disappointed in ambition, I had recourse to then I have another friend, from whom I can bor. love. A young lady, who lived with her aunt, and row the rest. Why then, replied my friend, if you was possessed of a pretty fortune in her own dis- would take my advice (and you know I should not posal, had given me, as I fancied, some reason to presume to advise you but for your own good), I expect success. The symptoms by which I was would recommend it to you to borrow the whole guided were striking. She had always laugh- sum from that other friend; and then one note will ed with me at her awkward acquaintance, and at serve for all, you know. her aunt among the number; she always observed "Poverty now began to come fast upon me; yet that a man of sense would make a better husband instead of growing more provident or cautious, as than a fool, and I as constantly applied the obser- I grew poor, 1 became every day more indolent and vation in my own favour. She continually talked, simple. A friend was arrested for fifty pounds; I in my company, of friendship and the beauties of was unable to extricate him, except by becoming the mind, and spoke of Mr. Shrimp my rival's his bail. When at liberty, he fled from his credibigh-heeled shoes with detestation. These were tors
, and left me to take liis place. In prison I excircumstances which I thought strongly in my fa- pected greater satisfactions than I had enjoyed at vour; so, after resolving, and re-resolving, I had large. I hoped to converse with men in this new courage enough to tell her my mind. Miss heard world, simple and believing like myself, but I found my proposal with serenity, seeming at the same them as cunning and as cautious as those in the time to study the figures of her fan. Out at last world I had left behind. They sponged up my it came. There was but one small objection to money whilst it lasted, borrowed my coals, and complete our happiness, which was no more than never paid for them, and cheated me when I play
-that she was married three months before to ed at cribbage. All this was done because they Mr. Shrimp, with high-heeled shoes! By way of believed me to be very good-natured, and knew that consolation, however, she observed, that though I l had no harm in me. was disappointed in her, my addresses to her aunt "Upon my first entrance into this mansion, would probably kindle her into sensibility: as the which is to some the abode of despair, I felt no old lady always allowed me to be very good-natured sensations different from those I experienced abroad. and not to have the least share of harm in me. I was now on one side the door, and those who
Yet still I had friends, numerous friends, and were unconfined were on the other: this was all to them ] was resolved to apply. O Friendship: the difference between us. At first, indeed, I felt thou fond soother of the human breast, to thee we some uneasiness, in considering how I should be fly in every calamity; to thee the wretched seck for able to provide this week for the wants of the week succour; on thee the care-tired son of misery fond- ensuing; but, after some time, if I found myself ly relies; from thy kind assistance the unfortunate sure of eating one day, I never troubled my head always hopes relief, and may be ever sure of—dis- how I was to be supplied another. I seized every appointment! My first application was to a city- precarious meal with the utmost good-humour; scrivener, who had frequently offered to lend me indulged no rants of spleen at my situation; never money, when he knew I did not want it. I in-called down Heaven and all the stars to behold me forrned him, that now was the time to put his dining upon a halfpenny-worth of radishes; my friendship to the test ; that I wanted to borrow a very companions were taught to believe that I liked couple of hundreds for a certain occasion, and was salad better than mutton. I contented myself with resolved to take it up from him. And pray, sir, thinking, that all my life I should either eat white cried my friend, do you want all this inoney? In- bread or brown; considered all that happened was deed I never wanted it more, returned I. I am best; laughed when I was not in pain, took the