Page images

To the Authors of the BRITISH MAGAZINE.



a fool. And, like the physician, EW disquisitions are attended whom, as Socrates fays, the pastry

cooks accused before a tribunal of account for that reciprocal con- children, for having prohibited the tempt every nation entertains for eating of pies and tarts, be certhe customs and manners of an- tainly condemned. It would be in Other : but if we proceed with vain for him to support his opinions caution in the inquiry, we hall, by the strongest demonstrations; all perhaps, be convinced, that it owes the nations would be, with respect its origin to vanity. It is with na- to him, like the notion of humptions as with individuals ; every backed people, among whom, as man

believes himself infallible, the Indian fabuliits say, came a places contradiction in the class of god, beautiful, young, and well Offences, and can neither efteem proportioned. This god, they nor admire any thing in another, add, entered the capital, where he but what resembles something in was foon surrounded by a multihimself: so every nation esteems tude of the inhabitants : his figure inothers only such ideas as are ana- appeared extraordinary, and their logous to her own; while every laughter and taunts declared their contrary opinion is beheld with astonishment. They would even contempt.

have carried their affronts still far. The Arab, perfuaded of the in- ther, had not one of the inhabi. fallibility of his Khalif, laughs at tants, who had doubtless feen the credulity of the Tartar, who other men, in order to protect him, believes the Great-lama immor- cried out, “O! my friends! what tal. The Negro, who pays his are you going to do? Let us not inadorations to a root, the claw of fult this unhappy piece of defor. a lobster, or the horn of an animal, mity : if heaven has lavished on us Sees nothing on the earth but an all the gifts of beauty; if it has immense mass of deities, and laughs adorned our backs with a mountain at the scarcity of gods among the of flesh, let us be filled with gratiEuropeans. Thus every nation, con- tude, repair to the temple, and revinced that he is the sole poffeffor turn thanks to the immortal gods." of wisdom, confiders all others as This fable is the history of human fools; and nearly resembles the in- vanity. All people admire their habitants of the Marian illands, own defe&s, and despise the conwho being persuaded that their's trary qualities. To succeed in any was the only language in the uni- country, we must carry the hump verse, concluded that all other men of the nation into which we were deftitute of the gift of speech. travel.

Should a Sage descend from There are in every country but heaveo, and in his conduct, con- few advocates who plead the cause fult only the light of reason, he of the neighbouring nations; fewer, would be universally considered as who acknowledge in themselves the ridicule they caft upon strangers, comprehensive view comprehends and take example from a certain the past, present, and the future, Tartar, who had the address to haft often declared, that it is to the make the Great Lama himself taliman of blind belief, thou owest blush at his injustice.


thine immortality, and thy power This Tartar had travelled thro' on earth : without this absolute subthe North, visited the country of mission to thy doctrines, thou the Laplanders, and even purchased wouldest be obliged to quit this a wind of their forcerers. On his abode of darkness, and ascend to return to his native country, he re- heaven, thy native country. Thou lated his adventures ; and the great knowest that the Lamas, subject to Lama, resolving to hear him, was thy power, are one day to raise already to burst his fides with laugh. tars' to thee in all the countries of ing at his story. Of what folly, the world. Who can assure thee, cried he, is the human mind ca. that they will execute this project, pable! What fantastic customs ! without the assistance of huinan how credulous are the Laplanders ! credulity; and that otherwise, enare these men ? Yes, indeed, replied quiry, which is always impious, the Tartar: I could inform you of will not take the Lamas for Lap something still more surprising. land wizzards, who fell winds to These Laplanders, with their ridi. the fools that buy them? Excufe culous wizards, laugh as much at then, O living Fo, this discourse our credulity as thou dost at theirs. dictated by my regard for thy Impious! cried the Great Lama, worsip; and may the Tartars learn darest thou pronounce this blar- of thee to respect the ignorance and phemy, and compare my religion credulity which heaven, ever imto theirs ? Great father, replied the penetrable in its views, seems to Tartar, before the secret imposition ordain, in order to make the earth of thy hand upon my head, had submit to thee. washed me from my fin, I hould Few men perceive the ridicule of have remonftrated, that thou their own nation, which they cover oughtest not to have engaged thy from the eye of reason, while, under subjects to make a profane use of a foreign name, they laugh at their their reason. If the severe eye of own folly; but there are still fewer doubt and examination, was spread nations capable of improving by over all the objects of human be. such advice. All are so fcrupulouslief, who knows whether thy ly attached to the interest of their worship itself would be sheltered own vanity, that in every country, from the raillery of the incredulous ? they give the title of wise only to Perhaps thy holy urine, and thy those who are the fools from the facred excrements, which thou dir- common folly. tributes in presents to the princes But however great the folly of of the earth, would appear less mankind may be, it is certain, that precious; perhaps they would lose if they would often say to themtheir favour. Already, in China, selves, “No person is free from does impiety deny the nine incar- error, why then should I think mynations of Visknou. Thou, whose self alone infallible? May I not be

L 2


deceived in those very things I nion of their own wisdom. Socrates maintain with the greatest resolu- frequently repeated, “All I know tion ?” If men had this idea habi- is, that I know nothing." In our tually present to their minds, they age, we know every thing except would be more on their guard what Socrates knew. Men would against vanity, more attentive to not so often fall into error, were it the objections of their adversaries, not for their own ignorance ; and and better prepared to receive the their folly becomes the more in. force of truth : they would be more curable from believing themselves mild, more inclined to toleration, wise. and doubtless form a meaner opi- I am, Gentlemen, Your's, &c.

A remarkable Instance of Filial Piety.

HE following little history whence he conceived great hopes,,

and polite foreign author, who af- mily. But these were speedily dashferts the truth of it, and that the ed by the cruelty of his principal parties are all living in France. creditor, who caused him to be seiz

In a great sea-port, in one of the ed and sent to a gaol. most distant provinces of that king- As soon as this melancholy event dom, there lived a merchant, who was known in the country, his eldest had carried on trade with equal fon, who was turned of nineteen, honour and prosperity, till he was listening only to the di&tates of filial turned of fifty years of age; and piety, came post to Paris, and then, by a sudden series of unexpec- threw himself at the feet of the obted and unavoidable loffes, found durate creditor, to whom he painthimself unable to comply with his ed the distress of the family, in the engagements, and his wife and most pathetic terms; but without children, in whom he placed his effe&t. At length, in the greatest principal happiness, reduced to such agony of mind, he said, “Sir, since a situation as doubled his distress. you think nothing can compensate

His fole resource in this sad situ- for your loss, but a victim, let your ation, was the reflection, that upon resentment devolve upon me.

Let the ftri&test review of his own con- mę suffer instead of iny father, and due, nothing either of iniquity or the miseries of a prison will seem imprudence appeared. He thought light in procuring the liberty of a it best therefore to repair to Paris, parent, to console the sorrows of in order to lay a true state of his the distracted and dejected family affairs before his creditors, that be that I have left behind ine. Thus, ing convinced of his honesty, they Sir, you will fatisfy your vengeance, might be induced to pity his mis- without sealing their irretrievable fortunes, and allow him a reason- ruin." And there his tears and able space of time to settle bis af- fighs stopped his utterance: fairs. He was kindly received by His father's creditor beheld him some, and very civilly by all ; from upon his knees in this condition,


for a full quarter of an hour. He bury in the joy of this alliance, all then sternly bid him rise and fit remembrance of what has formerdown, which he obeyed. The ly happened.” Thus the generous gentleman then walked from one gratitude of the son relieved the corner of the room to the other, in calamity of the worthy father. The great agitation of mind, for about man who had considered wealth the same space of time. At length, and happiness as synonimous terms, throwing his arms about the was freed from that fatal error! young man's neck, “I find, said he, and Providence vindicated the manthere is yet something more valu- ner of its proceeding, by thus able than money: I have an only bringing light out of darkness, and daughter, for whose fate I have the through a Mort scene of misery, utmost anxiety. I am resolved to rewarded a virtuous family with fix it ; in marrying you she must lasting peace, in the enjoyment of be happy. Go, carry your father's that prosperity which they fo well discharge, ask his consent, bring deserved. him instantly hither, and let us

Account of the Discovery, a new Comedy, as it is performed at the Theatre

Royal in Drury-Lane. Written by the Editor of Miss Sidney Bidulph.

The Persons of the Drama are when after some little expoftulation as follow, viz.

on his lordship's side, on the un

reasonableness of her intrusion, they ME N.

enter into a kind of churlish diaLord Medway Mr. Sheridan. logue, on the subject of their Sir Anthony Bran- Mr. Garrick.

daughter's intended marriage to Sir ville

Anthony, which lord Medway Sir Harry Flutter Mr. Obrien. speaks up for, as the only means Col. Medway, lon Mr. Holland.

of extricating himself from his preto lord Medway

fent distresses, and likewise of pro

viding for his daughter, whom Sir WOMEN.

Anthony agrees to take without a Lady Medway Mrs. Pritchard. Shilling, but which lady Medway Lady Flutter, niece mic.

endeavours to dissuade him from, to Sir Anthony

partly on account of the daughter's Mrs. A nighty, Mrs. Yates.

prepossessions in favour of Sir Anyoung widow

thony's nephew, who is on the Miss Richley, her Mrs. Palmer.

point of returning from his travels, sister

and partly on account of the proLouisa, daughter Mire Bride.

fpect they have of marrying young to Lord Medway

Medway to Mrs. Knightly, a match

which the thinks would answer all IN the first act lord Medway is the purposes proposed by the other.

discovered reading. In this situ- The dialogue, however, ends with ation lady Medway enters to him, a peremptory order from lord Med


way to his lady, to let her daughtering again to his own purposes, Sir know, that he will be obeyed. Harry retires, and is succeeded by

This scene is fucceeded by the Sir Anthony Branville, who presents coming in of Sir Harry Flutter, us, in propria persona, with all the who gives his lordship a long de- ftarchness of his character. His tail of a quarrel that happened that arrival giving birth to a dialogue morning, betwixt him and lady between him and lord Medway,

on Flutter, which lord Medway taking the subject of his passion for lord advantage of for the furtherance of Medway's daughter, and his fixed his designs upon her ladyship, ad- resolution never to see Mrs. Knight, vises him to stand up for bis prero- ly more, whom Sir Anthony had gative, and teaches him the most but just before paid bis addresles to, galling method of behaviour to. lady Flutter leaves them; and unwards her.

happily for the old baronet, the forIn the next scene we are present- midable Mrs. Knightly enters; foen ed with a dialogue between Miss after which, lord Medway being Medway and her mother, who called down, Sir Anthony and the agreeably to lord Medway's com- are thus left alone. A most dimands, endeavours to prevail on her verting scene now ensues betwixt daughter to accept of Sir Anthony the sprightly widow and Sir AnBranville, but is interrupted in the thony, which is put an end to by execution of this office, by the the arrival of lady Flutter, who is coming in of lord Medway him- followed again in her turn by Sir felf.

Harry; and the rencounter between Upon this lady Medway leaves this happy pair producing, as usual, her alone to settle the matter with a jar, Mrs. Knightly leaves them her father, who, after a great deal in the midst of the debate, but Sir of cruel teazing, tells her his fixed Harry, likewise, foon retiring, lord purpose in a few words, which is, Medway enters, and finding lady that the Mall not have young Bran. Flutter alone, makes no inconfiville, but must have the uncle, and derable advances in her favour ; leaves her to meditate on it. These in which, however, he is unfortutwo scenes let us a little into the nately discovered by lady Medway, character of Sir Anthony and lord which closes the act. Medway.

The third act begins with a love Scene V. presents us with a conversation between colonel Meddialogue between lord Medway and way and Miss Richley, wherein the his son, the colonel, wherein the latter acquaints Mr. Medway with former has the mortification of her sister's (Mrs.Knightly's) unkind feeing his designs again traversed usage of her, who being in love by the colonel's avowed pallion for with the colonel, and suspecting his Miss Richly, a young lady of great attachment to the other, becomes beauty and merit, but without any peevith, and scarce able to bear her fortune.

fifter in light. To mend the matThe next ad opens with a quar- ter, Mrs. Knightly comes in sudrel between Sir Harry and lady dently upon them, and being only Flutter, which lord Medway improv. rendered more uneasy by fome per


« PreviousContinue »