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LETTERS FROM A
Several of my acquaintance seemed much more hardy than I, and went over the ice with intrepidity. Some carried their works to the fair on sledges, some on carts, and those which were more volu- CITIZEN OF THE WORLD minous, were conveyed in wagons. Their temerity astonished me. I knew their cargoes were heavy, and expected every moment they would
FRIENDS IN THE EAST. have gone to the bottom. They all entered the fair, however, in safety, and each soon after returned to my great surprise, highly satisfied with his entertainment, and the bargains he had brought
LETTER I. away.
To Mr. ***, Merchant in London. The success of such numbers at last began to SIR,
Amsterdam, operate upon me. If these, cried I, meet with fa- Yours of the 13th instant, covering two bills, vour and safety, some luck may, perhaps, for once, one on Messrs. R. and D. value 4781. 10s, and the attend the unfortunate. I am resolved to make a other on Mr. ****, value 285l., duly came to hand, new adventure. The furniture, frippery, and fire- the former of which met with honour, but the other works of China, have long been fashionably bought has been trifled with, and I am afraid will be reup. I'll try the fair with a small cargo of Chinese turned protested. morality. If the Chinese have contributed to viti. The bearer of this is my friend, therefore let him ate our taste, I'll try how far they can help to im- be yours. He is a native of Honan in China, and prove our understanding. But as others have one who did me signal services, when he was a driven into the market in wagons, I'll cautiously mandarine, and I a factor, at Canton. By frebegin by venturing with a wheelbarrow. Thus quently conversing with the English there, he has resolved, I baled up my goods, and fairly ventured; learned the language, though he is entirely a stranwhen, upon just entering the fair, I fancied the ice ger to their manners and customs. I am told he that had supported a hundred wagons before, is a philosopher; I am sure he is an honest man: cracked under me, and wheelbarrow and all went that to you will be his best recommendation, next to the bottom.
to the consideration of his being the friend of, sir,
Yours, etc Upon awaking from my reverie with the fright, I can not help wishing that the pains taken in giving this correspondence an English dress, had been
LETTER II. employed in contriving new political systems, or new plots for farces. I might then have taken my From Lien Chi Altangi, to ***, Merchant in Amsterdam station in the world, either as a poet or a philosopher, and made one in those little societies where Friend of MY HEART,
London. men club to raise each other's reputation. But at
May the wings of peace rest upon thy dwelling, present I belong to no particular class. I resemble and the shield of conscience preserve thee from one of those animals that has been forced from its rice and misery! For all thy favours accept my forest to gratify human curiosity. My earliest wish gratitude and esteem, the only tributes a poor phi. was to escape unheeded through life ; but I have losophic wanderer can return. Sure, fortune is been set up for halfpence, to fret and scamper at resolved to make me unhappy, when she gives the end of my chain. Though none are injured others a power of testifying their friendship by acby my rage, I am naturally too savage to court any
tions, and leaves me only words to express the sin. friends by fawning; too obstinate to be taught new
cerity of mine. tricks ; and too improvident to mind what may hap-. I am perfectly sensible of the delicacy with which pen. I am appeased, though not contented. Too you endeavour to lessen your own merit and my mdolent for intrigue, and too tímid to push for fa- obligations. By calling your late instances of 80.0r, I am—but what significs what I am.
friendship only a return for former favours, you
would induce me to impute to your justice what B471 XL OU TUX" Mzee yupati Tor spisy supor.
I owe to your generosity.
The services I did you at Canton, justice, hu
manity, and my office, bade me perform : those you Fortune and Ilope, a lieu !--I see my Port:
have done me since my arrival at Amsterdam, no 1oo losg your dupe; be others now your sport I laws obliged you to, no justice required, -even half
your favours would have been greater than my up every passage; so that a stranger, instead of findmost sanguine expectations.
ing time for observation, is often happy if he has The sum of money, therefore, which you pri- time to escape from being crushed to pieces. vately conveyed into my baggage, when I was The houses borrow very few ornaments from arleaving Holland, and which I was ignorant of till chitecture; their chief decoration seems to be a palmy arrival in London, I must beg leave to return. try piece of painting hung out at their doors or You have been bred a merchant, and I a scholar; windows, at once a proof of their indigence and you consequently love money better than I. You vanity: their vanity, in each having one of those can find pleasure in superfluity; I am perfectly con- pictures exposed to public view; and their indi tent with what is sufficient. Take therefore what gence, in being unable to get them better painted. is yours, it may give you some pleasure, even in this respect, the fancy of their painters is also though you have no occasion to use it; my happi- deplorable. Could you believe it? I have seen five ness it can not improve, for I have already all that black lions and three blue boars, in less than the I want.
circuit of half a mile; and yet you know that aniMy passage by sea from Rotterdam to England mals of these colours are no where to be found ex. was more painful to me than all the journeys I cept in the wild imaginations of Europe. ever made on land. I have traversed the immea- From these circumstances in their buildings, and surable wilds of Mogul Tartary; felt all the ri- from the dismal looks of the inhabitants, I am ingours of Siberian skies: I have had my repose a duced to conclude that the nation is actually poor; hundred times disturbed by invading savages, and and that, like the Persians, they make a splendid have seen, without shrinking, the desert sands rise figure every where but at home. The proverb of like a troubled ocean all around me: against these Xixofou is, that a man's riches may be seen in his calamities I was armed with resolution ; but in my eyes : if we judge of the English by this rule, there passage to England, though nothing occurred that is not a poorer nation under the sun. gave the mariners any uneasiness, to one who was I have been here but two days, so will not be never at sea before, all was a subject of astonish- hasty in my decisions. Such letters as I shall ment and terror. To find the land disappear, to write to Fipsihi in Moscow, I beg you'll endeavour see our ship mount the waves, swift as an arrow to forward with all diligence; I shall send them from the Tartar bow, to hear the wind howling open, in order that you may take copies or translathrough the cordage, to feel a sickness which de- tions, as you are equally versed in the Dutch and presses even the spirits of the brave ; these were Chinese languages. Dear friend, think of my abunexpected distresses, and consequently assaulted sence with regret, as I sincerely regret yours ; even me unprepared to receive them.
while I write, I lament our separation. Farewell You men of Europe think nothing of a voyage by sea. With us of China, a man who has been from sight of land is regarded upon his return with admiration. I have known some provinces where
LETTER III. there is not even a name for the Ocean. What a strange people, therefore, am I got amongst, who From Llen Chi Altangi, to the care of Fipsihi, resident in
Moscow, to be forwarded by the Ruesian caravan to Fum have founded an empire on this unstable element,
Hoam, First President of the Ceremonial Academy at Pem who build cities upon billows that rise higher than kin in China. the mountains of Tipertala, and make the deep more formidable than the wildest tempest !
Think not, O thou guide of my youth ! that abSuch accounts as these, I must confess, were my sence can impair my respect, or interposing trackfirst motives for seeing England. These induced less deserts blot your reverend figure from my me to undertake a journey of seven hundred pain- memory. The farther I travel I feel the pain of ful days, in order to examine its opulence, build- separation with stronger force ; those ties that bind ings, sciences, arts, and manufaetures, on the spot.
me to my native country and you, are still unJudge then my disappointment on entering Lon- broken. By every remove, I only drag a greater don, to see no signs of that opulence so much talked length of chain.* of abroad: wherever I turn, I am presented with a
Could I find aught worth transmitting from so
lered gloomy solemnity in the houses, the streets, and remote a region as this to which I have wa the inhabitants ; none of that beautiful gilding 1 should gladly send it; but, instead of this, you which makes a principal ornament in Chinese ar- must be contented with a renewal of my former chitecture. The streets of Nankin are sometimes professions, and an imperfect account of a people strewed with gold-leaf; very different are those of London, in the midst of their pavements, a great • We find a repetition of this beautiful and affecting imago lazy puddle moves muddily along; heavy laden ma- in the Traveller: chines, with wheels of unwiekly thickness, crowd "And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.”
with whom I am as yet but superficially acquaint- To make a fine gentleman, several trades are reed. The remarks of a man who has been but quired, but chiefly a barber. You have undoubtthree days in the country, can only be those obvi- edly heard of the Jewish champion, whose strength ous circumstances which force themselves upon the lay in his hair. One would think that the English imagination. I consider myself here as a newly- were for placing all wisdom there. To appear created being introduced into a new world; every wise, nothing more is requisite here than for a man object strikes with wonder and surprise. The to borrow hair from the heads of all his neighbours, imagination, still unsated, seems the only active and clap it like a bush on his own; the distributors principle of the mind. The most trilling occur- of law and physic stick on such quantities, that it rences give pleasure till the gloss of novelty is worn is almost impossible, even in idea, to distinguish away. When I have ceased to wonder, I may between the head and the hair. possibly grow wise; I may then call the reasoning Those whom I have been now describing affect principle to my aid, and compare those objects with the gravity of the lion; those I am going to deeach other, which were before examined without scribe, more resemble the pert vivacity of smaller reflection.
animals. The barber, who is still master of the Behold me then in London, gazing at the ceremonies, cuts their hair close to the crown; and strangers, and they at me: it seems they find somethen with a composition of meal and hog's-lard, what absurd in my figure; and had I been never plasters the whole in such a manner as to make it from home, it is possible I might find an infinite impossible to distinguish whether the patient wears fund of ridicule in theirs; but by long travelling 1 a cap or a plaster; but, to make the picture more am taught to laugh at folly alone, and to find no perfectly striking, conceive the tail of some beast, thing truly ridiculous but villany and vice. a greyhound's tail, or a pig's tail, for instance, ap
When I had just quitted my native country, and pended to the back of the head, and reaching down crossed the Chinese wall, I fancied every deviation to that place where tails in other animals are generfrom the customs and manners of China was a de- ally seen to begin; thus betailed and bepowdered, parting from nature. I smiled at the blue lips and the man of taste fancies he improves in beauty, red foreheads of the Tonguese; and could hardly dresses up his hard-featured face in smiles, and atcontain when I saw the Daures dress their heads tempts to look hideously tender. Thus equipped, with horns. The Ostiacs powdered with red earth; he is qualified to make love, and hopes for success and the Calmuck beauties, tricked out in all the more from the powder on the outside of his head, finery of sheep-skin, appeared highly ridiculous: than the sentiments within. but I soon perceived that the ridicule lay not in Yet when I consider what sort of a creature the them but in me; that I falsely condemned others fine lady is to whom he is supposed to pay his adfor absurdity, because they happened to differ from dresses, it is not strange to find him thus equipped a standard originally founded in prejudice or parti- in order to please. She is herself every whit as ality.
fond of powder, and tails, and hog's-lard, as he. I find no pleasure therefore in taxing the Eng. To speak my secret sentiments, most reverend lish with departing from nature in their external Fum, the ladies here are horribly ugly; I can appearance, which is all I yet know of their charac- hardly endure the sight of them; they no way reter: it is possible they only endeavour to improve semble the beauties of China : the Europeans have her simple plan, since every extravagance in dress quite a different idea of beauty from us. When I proceeds from a desire of becoming more beautiful reflect on the small-footed perfections of an Eastern ihan nature made us; and this is so harmless a beauty, how is it possible I should have eyes for a vanity, that I not only pardon but approve it. A woman whose feet are ten inches long? I shall desire to be more excellent than others, is what ac- never forget the beauties of my native city of Nan tually makes us so; and as thousands find a liveli- few. How very broad their faces! how very short hood in society by such appetites, none but the ig. their noses ! how very little their eyes! how very norant inveigh against them.
thin their lips ! how very black their teeth! the You are not insensible, most reverend Fum snow on the tops of Bao is not fairer than their Hoam, what numberless trades, even among the cheeks; and their eyebrows are small as the line Chinese, subsist by the harmless pride of each by the pencil of Quamsi. Here a lady with such other. Your nose-borers, feet-swathers, tooth-stain- perfections would be frightful; Dutch and Chinese ers, eyebrow-pluckers, would all want bread, should beauties, indeed, have some resemblance, but Eng. their neighbours want vanity. These vanities, lish women are entirely different; red cheeks, big however, employ much fewer hands in China than eyes, and teeth of a most odious whiteness, are not in England; and a fine gentleman or a fine lady only seen here, but wished for; and then they have here, dressed up to the fashion, seems scarcely to such masculine feet, as actually serve some for have a single limb that does not suffer some distor-walking! Lions from art
Yet uncivil as nature has been, they seem resolved to ogido her in unkindness; they use white their assemblies; and thousands might be found powder, blue powder, and black powder, for their ready to offer up their lives for the sound, though hair, and a red powder for the face on some parti- perhaps not one of all the number understands its cular occasions.
meaning. The lowest mechanic, however, looks They like to have the face of various colours, as upon it as his duty to be a watchful guardian of among the Tartars of Koreki, frequently sticking his country's freedom, and often uses a language on, with spittle, little black patches on every part that might seem haughty, even in the mouth of the of it, except on the tip of the nose, which I have great emperor, who traces his ancestry to the never seen with a patch. You'll have a better idea moon. of their manner of placing these spots, when I have A few days ago, passing by one of thrir prisons, finished the map of an English face patched up to I could not avoid stopping, in order to listen to a the fashion, which shall shortly be sent to increase dialogue which I thought might afford me some your curious collection of paintings, medals, and entertainment. The conversation was carried on monsters.
between a debtor through the grate of his prison, a But what surprises more than all the rest is what porter, who had stopped to rest his burden, and a I have just now, been credibly informed by one of soldier at the window. The subject was upon a this country. "Most ladies here," says he, "have threatened invasion from France, and each seemed two faces; one face to sleep in, and another to show extremely anxious to rescue his country from the in company: the first is generally reserved for the impending danger. “For my part,” cries the husband and family at home; the other put on to prisoner, "the greatest of my apprehensions is for please strangers abroad: the family face is often in- our frcedom; if the French should conquer, what different enough, but the out-loor one looks some would become of English liberty? My dear thing better; this is always made at the toilet, friends, Liberty is the Englishman's prerogawhere the looking-glass and toad-eater sit in coun- tive; we must preserve that at the expense of our cil
, and settle the complexion of the day.” lives; of thai lhe French shall never deprive us ;
I can't ascertain the truth of this remark; how it is not to be expected that men who are slaves ever, it is actually certain, that they wear more themselves would preserve our freedom should clothes within doors than without; and I have seen they happen to conquer."-"Ay, slaves,” cries the a lady, who seemed to shudder at a breeze in her porter, “they are all slaves, fit only to carry burdens, own apartment, appear half naked in the streets. every one of them. Before I would stoop to slaveFarewell.
ry, may this be my poison (and he held the goblet in his hand), may this be my poison-but I would
sooner list for a soldier." LETTER IV.
The soldier, taking the goblet from his friend,
with much awe fervently cried out, “It is not so To the same.
much our liberlies as our religion, that would sufThe English seem as silent as the Japanese, yet fer by such a change : ay, our religion, my lads. vainer than the inhabitants of Siam. Upon my May the devil sink me into flames (such was the arrival, I attributed that reserve to modesty, which solemnity of his adjuration), if the French should I now find has its origin in pride. Condescend 10 come over, but our religion would be ulterly unaddress them first, and you are sure of their ac- done." So saying, instead of a libation, he applied quaintance; stoop to flattery, and you conciliate the goblet to his lips, and confirmed his sentiments their friendship and esteem. They bear hunger, with a ceremony of the most persevering devocold, fatigue, and all the miseries of life without tion. shrinking; danger only calls forth their fortitude; In short, every man here pretends to be a politithey even exult in calamity; but contempt is what cian; even the fair sex are sometimes found to mix they can not bear. An Englishman fears contempt the severity of national altercation will the bland. more than death; he often flies to death as a refuge ishments of love, and often become conquerors, by from its pressure ; and dies when he fancies the inore weapons of destruction than their eyes. world has ceased to esteem hin.
This universal passion for politics, is gratified by Pride seems the source not only of their nation- daily gazettes, as with us at China. But as in ours al vices, but of their national virtues also. An the emperor endeavours to instruct his people, in Englishman is taught to love his king as his friend, theirs, the people endeavour to instruct the adminbut to acknowledge no other master than the laws istration. You must not, however, imagine, that which himself has contributed to enact. He de- they who compile these papers have any actual spises those nations, who, that one may be free, knowledge of the politics, or the government of a are all content to be slaves; who first lift a tyrant state; they only collect their materials from the into terror, and then shrink under his power as if oracle of some coffee-house ; which oracle has himdelegated from Heaven. Liberty is echoed in all self gathered them the night before from a beau at
a gaming-table, who has pillaged his knowledge | perity, the contending powers of Europe properly from a great man's porter, who has had his infor- balanced, desires also to know the precise value of mation from the great man's gentleman, who has every weight in either scale. To gratify this curiinvented the whole story for his own amusement osity, a leaf of political instruction is served up the night preceding.
every morning with tea : when our politician bas The English, in general, seem fonder of gaining feasted upon this, he repairs to a coffee-house, in the esteem than the love of those they converse order to ruminate upon what he has read, and inwith. This gives a formality to their amusements ; crease his collection; from thence he proceer's to their gayest conversations have something too wise the ordinary, inquires what news, and, treas'ıring for innocent relaxation: though in company you up every acquisition there, hunts about all the are seldom disgusted with the absurdity of a fool, evening in quest of more, and carefully ad is it to you are seldom lifted into rapture by those strokes the rest. Thus at night he retires home, full of of vivacity, which give instant, though not perma- the important advices of the day: when lo! awaking nent pleasure.
next morning, he finds the instructions of yeterday What they want, however, in gaiety, they make a collection of absurdity or palpable falsehood. up in politeness. You smile at hearing me praise This one would think a mortifying repulse in the the English for their politeness; you who have pursuit of wisdom ; yet our politician, no way disheard very different accounts from the missionaries couraged, hunts on, in order to collect fresh maat Pekin, who have seen such a different behaviour terials, and in order to be again disappointed. in their merchants and seamen at home. But I I have often admired the commercial spirit which must still repeat it, the English seem more polite prevails over Europe ; have been surprised to see than any of their neighbours: their great art in this them carry on a traffic with productions that an respect lies in endeavouring, while they oblige, to Asiatic stranger would deem entirely useless. It lessen the force of the favour. Other countries are is a proverb in China, that a European suffers not fond of obliging a stranger; but seem desirous that even his spittle to be lost; the maxim, however, is he should be sensible of the obligation. The Eng- not sufficiently strong, since they sell even their lish confer their kindness with an appearance of lies to great advantage. Every nation drives a indifference, and give away benefits with an air as considerable trade in this commodity with their if they despised them.
neighbours. Walking a few days ago between an English An English dealer in this way, for instance, has and a Frenchman into the suburbs of the city, we only to ascend to his workhouse, and manufacture were overtaken by a heavy shower of rain. I was a turbulent speech, averred to be spoken in the unprepared; but they had each large coats, which senate; or a report supposed to be dropped at court; defended them from what seemed to be a perfect a piece of scandal that strikes at a popular mandainundation. The Englishman, seeing me shrink rine; or a secret treaty between two neighbouring from the weather, accosted me thus: "Psha, man, powers. When finished, these goods are baled up, what dost shrink at ? herc, take this coat ; I don't and consigned to a factor abroad, who sends in rewant it; I find it no way useful to me; I had as turn too battles, three sieges, and a shrewd letter lief be without it.” The Frenchman began to filled with dashes blanks and stars show his politeness in turn. “My dear friend,” , **** of great importance. cries he, "why noon't you oblige me by making use Thus you perceive, that a single gazette is the of my coat? you see how well it defends me from joint manufacture of Europe; and he who would the rain; I should not choose to part with it to peruse it with a philosophical eye, might perceive others, but to such a friend as you I could even in every paragraph something characteristic of the part with my skin to do him service."
nation to which it belongs. A map does not exFrom such minute instances as these, most reve- hibit a more distinot view of the boundaries and rend Fum Hoam, I am sensible your sagacity will situation of every country, than its news does a collect instruction. The volume of nature is the picture of the genius and the morals of its inhabibook of knowledge; and he becomes most wise, tants. The superstition and erroneous delicacy of who makes the most judicious selection, Fare- Italy, the formality of Spain, the cruelty of Portuwell.
gal, the fears of Austria, the confidence of Prussia, the levity of France, the avarice of Hollard, the pride of England, the absurdity of Ireland, and the
national partiality of Scotland, are all conspicuous LETTER V.
in every page. To the same.
But, perhaps, you may find more satisfaction in I have already informed you of the singular a real newspaper, than in my description of one; I passion of this nation for politics. An English-'therefore send a specimen, which may serve to ex. man not satisfied with finding, by his own pros- hibit the manner of their being writton, and dis