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inevitable intricacy of things; talk with doubt, and decide with hesitation: but doubting is entirely unknown in medicine; the advertising professors here delight in cases of difficulty. Be the disorder never so desperate or radical, you will find numbers in every street, who, by levelling a pill at the part affected, promise a certain cure, without loss of time, knowledge of a bedfellow, or hindrance of business.
When I consider the assiduity of this profession, their benevolence amazes me. They not only in general give their medicines for half value, but use the most persuasive remonstrances to induce the sick to come and be cured. Sure, there must be something strangely obstinate in an English patient who refuses so much health upon such easy terms. Does he take a pride in being bloated with a dropsy? does he find pleasure in the alternations of an intermittent fever? or feel as much satisfaction in nursing up his gout, as he found pleasure in acquiring it? He must, otherwise he would not reject such repeated assurances of instant relief. What can be more convincing than the manner in which the sick are invited to be well? The doctor first begs the most earnest attention of the public to what he is going to propose he solemnly affirms the pill was never found to want success; he produces a list of those who have been rescued from the grave by taking it: yet, notwithstanding all this, there are many here who now and then think proper to be sick. Only sick, did I say? there are some who even think proper to die! Yes, by the head of Confucius! they die; though they might have purchased the health-restoring specific for half-acrown at every corner.
I am amazed, my dear Fum Hoam, that these doctors, who know what an obstinate set of people they have to deal with, have never thought of attempting to revive the dead. When the living are found to reject their prescriptions, they ought in conscience to apply to the dead, from whom they can expect no such mortifying repulses: they would find in the dead the most complying patients imaginable; and what gratitude might they not
expect from the patient's son, no longer an heir, and his wife, no longer a widow !
Think not, my friend, that there i thing chimerical in such an attempt already perform cures equally str What can be more truly astonis than to see old age restored to y and vigour to the most feeble con tions? Yet this is performed here day a simple electuary effects wonders, even without the bungling monies of having the patient boile in a kettle, or ground down in a mil
Few physicians here go through ordinary courses of education, but rec all their knowledge of medicine by mediate inspiration from Heaven. S are thus inspired even in the womb; what is very remarkable, understand t profession as well at three years old at threescore. Others have spent a g part of their lives unconscious of latent excellence, till a bankruptcy. residence in gaol, have called their mir lous powers into exertion. And ot still there are indebted to their superlat ignorance alone for success; the m ignorant the practitioner, the less capa is he thought of deceiving. The peo here judge as they do in the East, wh it is thought absolutely requisite that man should be an idiot, before he prete to be either a conjurer or a doctor.
When a physician by inspiration is s for, he never perplexes the patient previous examination; he asks very s questions, and those only for form sak He knows every disorder by intuition he adminsters the pill or drop for eve distemper; nor is more inquisitive th the farrier while he drenches an horse. the patient lives, then has he one mo to add to the surviving list; if he die then it may be justly said of the patient disorder, that, as it was not cured, t disorder was incurable.
I WAS some days ago in company with politician, who very pathetically claimed upon the miserable situation
country he assured me, that the le political machine was moving in wrong track, and that scarce even ites like his own could ever set it
an. "What have we," said he, do with the wars on the Continent? are a commercial nation; we have v to cultivate commerce, like our
ours the Dutch; it is our business increase trade by settling new colonies;
are the strength of a nation; and te rest, our ships, our ships alone, protect us." I found it vain to
my feeble arguments to those of who thought himself wise enough rect even the ministry. I fancied, wever, that I saw with more certainty,
I reasoned without prejudice: I begged leave, instead of argu, to relate a short history. He gave ve a sale at once of condescension and t; and I proceeded as follows to be "THE RISE AND DECLENSION THE KINGDOM OF LAO." Rebward of China, and in one of
blings of the Great Wall, the province of Lao enjoyed its ty, and a peculiar government of its As the inhabitants were on all surrounded by the wall, they feared den invasion from the Tartars; and e each possessed of property, they sealous in its defence.
natural consequence of security fluence in any country is a love of re; when the wants of nature are ed, we seek after the conveniences; possessed of these, we desire the ines of life; and when every luxury Handed, it is then ambition takes up man, and leaves him still something wish for. The inhabitants of the ry, from primitive simplicity, soon to aim at elegance, and from ance proceeded to refinement. Jow found absolutely requisite, for good of the state, that the people ld be divided. Formerly, the same that was employed in tilling the ind, or in dressing up the manufacts, was also, in time of need, a soldier; the custom was now changed; for it perceived, that a man bred up from hood to the arts of either peace or
war, became more eminent by this means in his respective profession. The inhabitants were, therefore, now distinguished into artisans and soldiers; and while those improved the luxuries of life, these watched for the security of the people.
A country possessed of freedom has always two 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 artisans were most likely to preserve internal liberty; and a nation of soldiers were fittest to repel a foreign invasion. Hence naturally arose a division of opinion between the artisans and soldiers of the kingdom. The artisans, ever complaining that freedom was threatened by an armed internal force, were for disbanding the soldiers, and insisted that their walls, their walls alone, were sufficient to repel the most formidable invasion: the warriors, on the contrary, represented the power of the neighbouring kings, the combinations formed against their state, and the weakness of the wall, which every earthquake might overturn. While this altercation continued, the kingdom might be justly said to enjoy its greatest share of vigour: every order in the state, by being watchful over each other, contributed to diffuse happiness equally, and balanced the state. The arts of peace flourished, nor were those of war neglected: the neighbouring powers, who had nothing to apprehend from the ambition of men whom they only saw solicitous, not for riches, but freedom, were contented to traffic with them: they sent their goods to be manufactured in Lao, and paid a large price for them upon their return.
By these means, this people at length became moderately rich, and their opulence naturally invited the invader: a Tartar prince led an immense army against them, and they as bravely stood up in their own defence; they were still inspired with a love of their country; they fought the barbarous enemy with fortitude, and gained a complete victory.
From this moment, which they regarded as the completion of their glory,
historians date their downfall. They had risen in strength by a love of their country, and fell by indulging ambition. The country possessed by the invading Tartars seemed to them a prize that would not only render them more formidable for the future, but which would increase their opulence for the present; it was unanimously resolved, therefore, both by soldiers and artisans, that those desolate regions should be peopled by colonies from Lao. When a trading nation begins to act the conqueror, it is then perfectly undone. It subsists in some measure by the support of its neighbours: I while they continue to regard it without envy or apprehension, trade may flourish; but when once it presumes to assert as its right what is only enjoyed as a favour, each country reclaims that part of commerce which it has power to take back, and turns it into some other channel more honourable, though perhaps less
which it was in the beginning oblig others, it learns to dress up itself. was the case with the colonies of they, in less than a century, bec powerful and a polite people, an more polite they grew, the less a tageous was the commerce which subsisted between them and others. this means the mother country, abridged in its commerce, grew p but not less luxurious. Their f wealth had introduced luxury; wherever luxury once fixes, no ar either lessen or remove it. Their merce with their neighbours was to destroyed, and that with their col was every day naturally and necess declining; they still, however, prese the insolence of wealth, without ap to support it, and persevered in t luxurious, while contemptible from verty. In short, the state resembled of those bodies bloated with dis whose bulk is only a symptom o wretchedness.
Every neighbour now began to regard with jealous eyes this ambitious commonwealth, and forbade their subjects any future intercourse with them. The inhabitants of Lao, however, still pursued the same ambitious maxims: it was from their colonies alone they expected riches; and riches, said they, are strength, and strength is security. Numberless were the migrations of the desperate and enterprising of this country to people the desolate dominions lately possessed by the Tartar. Between these colonics and the mother country a very advantageous traffic was at first carried on: the republic sent their colonies large quantities of the manufactures of the country, and they in return provided the republic with an equivalent in ivory and ginseng. By this means the inhabitants became 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 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 more polite; and those manufactures for
Their former opulence only rend them more impotent, as those individ who are reduced from riches to po are of all men the most unfortunate helpless. They had imagined, bec their colonies tended to make them upon the first acquisition, they w still continue to do so; they now for however, that on themselves alone t should have depended for support; colonies ever afforded but temporary a ence; and when cultivated and pol are no longer useful. From such a d currence of circumstances they soon came contemptible. The Emperor H invaded them with a powerful an Historians do not say whether t colonies were too remote to lend assistan or else were desirous of shaking off th dependence; but certain it is, t scarce made any resistance: their w were now found but a weak defence, they at length were obliged to ackn ledge subjection to the empire of Chi
Happy, very happy might they t been, had they known when to b their riches and their glory; had th known that extending empire is diminishing power; that countries are
ngest which are internally powerful: t colonies, by draining away the brave I enterprising, leave the country in the ads of the timid and avaricious; that Ils give little protection, unless manned h resolution; that too much commerce yinture a nation as well as too little; d that there is a wide difference between conquering and a flourishing empire.
LETTER XXVI. To the same.
BOUGH fond of many acquaintances, I ee an intimacy only with a few. The Is in Black, whom I have often menned, is one whose friendship I could vish to acquire, because he possesses my rem. His manners, it is true, are tinci with some strange inconsistencies; at he may be justly termed a humorist tation of humorists. Though he is Strons even to profusion, he affects to Lethought a prodigy of parsimony and Peace; though his conversation be rete with the most sordid and selfish
s his heart is dilated with the most ded love. I have known him Pess himself a man-hater, while his ek was glowing with compassion; and, ve his looks were softened into pity, I ve heard him use the language of the unbounded ill-nature. Some affect anity and tenderness, others boast of
such dispositions from nature; he is the only man I ever knew who red ashamed of his natural benevo
He takes as much pains to hide feelings, as any hypocrite would to ral his indifference; but on every Aarded moment the mask drops off, I reveals him to the most superficial
In one of our late excursions into the ntry, happening to discourse upon the ovision that was made for the poor in England, he seemed amazed how any of s countrymen could be so foolishly weak sto relieve occasional objects of charity, when the laws had made such ample prosion for their support. "In every parish ouse," says he, the poor are supplied with food, clothes, fire, and a bed to lie
on; they want no more, I desire no more myself; yet still they seem discontented. I am surprised at the inactivity of our magistrates, in not taking up such vagrants, who are only a weig it upon the industrious; I am surprised that the people are found to relieve them, when they must be at the same time sensible that it in some measure encourages idleness, extravagance, and imposture. Were I to advise any man for whom I had the least regard, I would caution him by all means not to be imposed upon by their false pretences: let me assure you, sir, they are impostors, every one of them, and rather merit a prison than relief."
He was proceeding in this strain, earnestly to dissuade me from an imprudence of which I am seldom guilty, when an old man, who still had about him the remnants of tattered finery, implored our compassion. He assured us that he was no common beggar, but forced into the shameful profession to support a dying wife and five hungry children. Being prepossessed against such falsehoods, his story had not the least influence upon me; but it was quite otherwise with the Man in Black: I could see it visibly operate upon his countenance, and effectually interrupt his harangue. I could easily perceive, that his heart burned to relieve the five starving children, but he seemed ashamed to discover his weakness to me. While he thus hesitated between compassion and pride, I pretended to look another way, and he seized this opportunity of giving the poor petitioner a piece of silver, bidding him at the same time, in order that I should hear, go work for his bread, and not tease passengers with such impertinent falsehoods for the future.
As he had fancied himself quite unperceived, he continued, as we proceeded, to rail against beggars with as much animosity as before: he threw in some episodes on his own amazing prudence and economy, with his profound skill in discovering impostors; he explained the manner in which he would deal with beggars were he a magistrate, hinted at enlarging some of the prisons for their reception, and told two stories of ladies that were robbed by
beggar-men. He was beginning a third to the same purpose, when a sailor with a wooden leg once more crossed our walks, desiring our pity, and blessing our limbs. I was for going on without taking any notice, but my friend, looking wistfully upon the poor petitioner, bid me stop, and he would show me with how much ease he could at any time detect an impostor. He now, therefore, assumed a look of importance, and in an angry tone began to examine the sailor, demanding in what engagement he was thus disabled and rendered unfit for service. The sailor replied, in a tone as angrily as he, that he had been an officer on board a private ship of war, and that he had lost his leg abroad, in defence of those who did nothing at home. At this reply, all my friend's importance vanished in a moment; he had not a single question more to ask; he now only studied what method he should take to relieve him unobserved. He had, however, no easy part to act, as he was obliged to preserve the appearance of ill-nature before me, and yet relieve himself by relieving the sailor. Casting, therefore, a furious look upon some bundles of chips which the fellow carried in a string at his back, my friend demanded how he sold his matches; but, not waiting for a reply, desired, in a surly tone, to have a shilling's worth. The sailor seemed at first surprised at his demand, but soon recollecting himself, and presenting his whole bundle, "Here, master," says he, "take all my cargo, and a blessing into the bargain."
It is impossible to describe with what an air of triumph my friend marched off with his new purchase: he assured me, that he was firmly of opinion that those fellows must have stolen their goods, who could thus afford to sell them for half value. He informed me of several different uses to which those chips might be applied; he expatiated largely upon the savings that would result from lighting candles with a match, instead of thrusting them into the fire. He averred, that he I would as soon have parted with a tooth as his money to those vagabonds, unless for some valuable consideration. I cannot tell how long this panegyric upon fru
gality and matches might have contin had not his attention been called of another object more distressful than e of the former. A woman in rags, one child in her arms, and another o back, was attempting to sing ballads with such a mournful voice, that it difficult to determine whether she singing or crying. A wretch, wh the deepest distress still aimed at g humour, was an object my friend wa no means capable of withstanding: vivacity and his discourse were insta interrupted; upon this occasion, his dissimulation had forsaken him. F in my presence he immediately ap his hands to his pockets, in order to re her; but guess his confusion when found he had already given away all money he carried about him to former jects. The misery painted in the wom visage was not half so strongly expres as the agony in his. He continued search for some time, but to no purpo till, at length recollecting himself, wit face of ineffable good-nature, as he ! no money, he put into her hands shilling's worth of matches.
As there appeared something reluctan good in the character of my companio I must own it surprised me what could his motives for thus concealing virtu which others take such pains to displa I was unable to repress my desire knowing the history of a man who the seemed to act under continual restrain and whose benevolence was rather t effect of appetite than reason.
It was not, however, till after repeate solicitations he thought proper to grati my curiosity. "If you are fond,' he, "of hearing hairbreadth 'scapes, m history must certainly please; for I hav been for twenty years upon the very verg of starving, without ever being starved.
My father, the younger son of a goo family, was possessed of a small living " the church. His education was above his fortune, and his generosity greater than his education. Poor as he was, he