Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

went.

had not so much luck as we expected. In three days we fell in with a French man of war, of forty guns, while we had but twenty-three; so to it we

The fight lastec for three hours, and I verily believe we should have taken the Frenchman, but unfortunately, we lost almost all our men, just as we

were going to get the victory. I was once more in 'the power of the French, and I believe it would ' have gone hard with me, had I been brought 'back to my old gaol in Brest: but by good fortune,

we were re-taken, and carried to England once

more.

[ocr errors]

" I had almost forgot to tell you, that in this last engagement I was wounded in two places; I lost four fingers of the left hand, and my leg was shot off. Had I the good fortune to have lost my leg and use of my hand on board a king's ship, and not a priva

teer, I should have been entitled to clothing and 'maintenance during the rest of my life, but that was

not my chance; one man is born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and another with a wooden ladle. However, blessed be God, I enjoy good health, and have no enemy in this world that I know of, but the French and the justice of peace.'

Thus saying, he limped off, leaving my friend and me in admiration of his intrepidity and content; nor could we avoid acknowledging, that an habitual acquaintance with misery, is the truest school of fortitude and philosophy.

Adieu.

[ocr errors]
[graphic]

LETTER CXIX.

FROM THE SAME.

The titles of European princes are rather more numerous than ours of Asia, but by no means so sullime. The king of Visapour or Pegu, not satisfied with claiming the globe and all its appurtenances to him and his heirs, asserts a property even in the firmament, and extends his orders to the milky way. The monarchs of Europe, with more modesty, confine their titles to earth, but make up by number, what is wanting in their sublimity. Such is their passion for a long list of these splendid trifles, that I have known a German prince with more titles than subjects, and a Spanish nobleman with more names than shirts.

Contrary to this, “ the English monarchs," says a writer of the last century, " disdain to accept of such " titles, which tend only to increase their pride, « without improving their glory; they are abore de“ pending on the feeble helps of heraldry for respect, " perfectly satisfied with the consciousness of ac“ knowledged power.” At present, however, these maxiins are laid aside ; the English monarchs have of late assumed new titles, and have impressed their coins with the names and arms of obscure dukedoms, petty states, and subordinate employments. Their design in this, I make no doubt, was laudabiy to add new lustre to the British throne, but in reality, paltry

[graphic]

claims only serve to diminish that respect they are designed to secure.

There is in the honours assumed by kings, as in the decorations of architecture, a majestic simplicity, which best conduces to inspire our reverence and respect; numerous and trifling ornaments in either, are Strong indications of meanness in the designer, or of concealed deformity: should, for instance, the Emperor of China, among other titles, assume that of Deputy Mandarin of Maccau, or the Monarch of GreatBritain, France, and Ireland, desire to be acknowledged as Duke of Brentford, Lunenburg, or Lincoln, the observer revolts at this mixture of important and paltry claims, and forgets the Emperor in his familiarity with the Duke or the Deputy.

I remember a similar instance of this inverted ambition, in the illustrious King of Manacabo, upon his first treaty with the Portuguese. Among the presents that were made him by the ambassador of that nation, was a sword, with a brass bilt, on which he Seemed to set a peculiar value. This he thought too great an acquisition to his glory, to be forgotten among the number of his titles. He therefore gave orders, that his subjects should style him for the future, Tali120t, the immorial Potentate of Manacabo, Messenger of Morning, Enlightner of the Sun, Possessor of the zuhole Earth, and mighty Monarch of the brass-handled

[graphic]

obscurity. It was indeed but just that a people which had given England up their king, should receive some honorary equivalent in retum ; but at present these motives are no more; England has now a monarch wholly British, and has some reason to hope for British titles upon British coins.

However, were the money of England designed to circulate in Germany, there would be no flagrant impropriety in impressing it with German names and arms; but though this might have been so upon former occasions, I am told there is no danger of it for the future ; as England therefore designs to keep back its gold, I candidly think Lunenburg, Oldenburg, and the rest of them, may very well keep back their titles.

It is a mistaken prejudice in princes to think that a number of loud sounding names can give new claims lo respect.

The truly great have ever disdained them: When Timur the Lame had conquered Asia, an orator by profession came to compliment biva upon the occasion. He began his harangue, by styling him the most omnipotent, and the most glorious object of the creation The emperor seemed displeased with his paltry adulation, yet still he went on complimenting him, as the most mighty, the most valiant, and the most perfect of beings. Hold here, my friend, cries the lame emperor ; hold there, till I have got another leg. In fact, the feeble or the despotic alone find pleasure in multiplying these pageants

of vanity, but strength and freedom have nobler aims, and often find the finest adulation in majestic simplicity.

The young monarch of this country has already testified a proper contempt for several unmeaning appendages on royalty; cooks and scullions have

[graphic]

been obliged to quit their fires; gentlemen's gentlemen, and the whole tribe of necessary people, who did nothing, have been dismissed from further services. A youth who can thus bring back simplicity and frugality to a court will soon probably have a true respect for his own glory, and while he has dismissed all useless employments, may disdain to accept of empty or degrading titles.

Adieu,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

WHENEVER I attempt to characterize the Eng. lish in general, some unforeseen difficulties conStantly ocor to disconcert my design; I hesitate between censure and praise : when I consider them as a reasoning philosophical people, they have my applause ; but when I reverse the medal, and observe their inconstancy and irresolution, I can scarcely persuade myself that I am observing the same people.

Yet upon examination, this very inconstancy, so remarkable here, flows from no other source than their love of reasoning. The man who examines a complicated subject on every side, and calls in reason VOL. IV.

R

[graphic]
« ZurückWeiter »