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RECOLLECTIONS

ENGLAND.

IF MAN were not attached, by a sublime instinct to his native country, his most natural condition in the world would be that of a traveller. A certain degree of restlessness is for ever urging him beyond his own limits. He wishes to see every thing, and is full of lamentations after he has seen every thing. I have traversed several regions of the globe, but I confess that I paid more attention to the deserts than to mankind, among whom, after all, I often experience solitude.

I sojourned only for a short period among the Germans, Spaniards, and Portuguese ; but I lived a considerable time in England : and as the inhabitants of that kingdom constitute the only people who dispute the empire of the French,* the least account of them becomes interesting.

* This was written at the time that all the continental powers of Europe had been conquered by the arms of Napoleon, and had acknowledged his title.

Erasmus is the most ancient traveller, with whom I am acquainted, that speaks of the English. He states that, during the reign of Henry VIII. he found London inhabited by barbarians, whose huts were full of smoke. A long time afterwards, Voltaire, wanting to discover a perfect philosopher, was of opinion that he had found this character among the Quakers upon the banks of the Thames. During his abode there the taverns were the places, at which the men of genius, and the friends of Tational liberty assembled. England, however, is known to be the country, in which religion is less discussed, though more respected than in any other; and where the idle questions, by which the tranquillity of empires is disturbed, obtain less attention than any where else..

It appears to me that the secret of English manners, and their way of thinking is to be sought in the origin of this people. Being a mixture of French and German blood, they form a link of the chain by which the two nations are united. Their policy, their religion, their martial habits, their literature, arts, and national character appear to me a medium between the two. They seem to have united, in some degree, the brilliancy, grandeur, courage, and vivacity of the French with the simplicity, . calmness, good sense, and bad taste of the Germans.

Inferior to us in some respects, they are superior in several others, particularly in every thing relative to commerce and wealth. They excel us also in neatness : and it is remarkable that a people, apparently of a heavy turn, should have, in their furniture, dress, and manufactures, an elegance in which we are deficient. It may be said of the English that they employ in the labours of the hand the delicacy, which we devote to those of the mind.

The principal failing of the English nation is pride : 1. which is indeed the fault of all mankind. It prevails at

Paris as well as London, but modified by the French character, and transformed into self-love. Pride, in its pure state, appertains to the solitary man, who is not obliged to make any sacrifice ; but he, who lives much with his equals, is forced to dissimulate and conceal his pride under the softer and more varied forms of vanity. The passions are, in general, more sudden and determined

among the English; more active and refined among the French. The pride of the former makes him wish to crush every thing at once by force; the self-love of the other slowly undermines what it wishes to destroy. In ° England a man is hated for a vice, or an offence, but in France such a motive is not necessary; for the advantages of person or of fortune, success in life, or even a bon mot will be sufficient. This animosity, which arises from a thousand disgraceful causes, is not less implacable than the enmity founded on more noble motives. There are no passions so dangerous as those, which are of base origin; for they are conscious of their own baseness, and are thereby rendered furious. They endeavour to conceal it under crimes, and to impart, from its effects, a sort of apalling grandeur, which is wanting from principle. This the French revolution sufficiently proved.

Education begins early in England. Girls are sent to school during the tenderest years. You sometimes see groups of these little ones, dressed in white mantles, straw-hats tied under the chin with a ribband, and a basket on the arm which contains fruit and a book, all with downcast eyes, blushing if looked at. When I have observed our French: female children dressed in their antiquated fashion, lifting up the train of their gowns, looking at every one with effrontery, singing love-sick airs, and taking lessons in declamation, I have thought with regret of the simplicity and modesty of the little English girls. A child without innocence is a flower without perfume.

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The boys also pass their earliest years at school, where they learn Greek and Latin. Those who are des tined for the church, or a political career, go to the universities of Cambridge and Oxford. The first is particularly devoted to mathematics, in memory of Newton; but the English, generally speaking, do not hold this study in high estimation ; for they think it very dangerous to good morals when carried too far. They are of opinion that the sciences harder the heart, deprive life of its enchantments, and lead weak minds to atheism, the sure road to all other crimes. On the contrary, they maintain that the belles lettres render life delightful, soften the soul, fill us, with faith in the Divinity, and thus conduce, through the medium of religion, to the practice of all the virtues.*

When an Englishman attains manhood, agriculture, commerce, the army and navy, religion and politics, are the pursuits of life open to him. If he chuses to be what they call a gentleman farmer, he sells his corn, makes agricultural experiments, hunts foxes and shoots partridges in autumn, eats fat geese at Christmas, sings "Oh the roast beef of old England,” grumbles about the present times, and boasts of the past which he thought no better at the moment, above all, inveighs against the minister and the war for raising the price of port-wine, and finally goes inebriated to bed, intending to lead the same life on the following day.

The army, though so brilliant during the reign of Queen Anne, had fallen into a state of disrepute, from which the present war has raised it. The English were a long time before they thought of turning their principal attention to their naval force. They were ambitious of distinguishing themselves as a continental power. It was a remnant of ancient opinions, which held the pursuits of commerce in contempt. The English have,

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