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CXII. A literary contest of great importance; in
YOURS of the 13th instant, covering two bills, one on Messrs. R. and D. value 4781. 10s. and the other on Mr. ****, value 2851. duly came to hand, the former of which met with honour, but the other has been trifled with, and I am afraid will be returned protested.
The bearer of this is my friend, therefore let him be yours. He is a native of Honan in China, and one who did me signal services, when he was a mandarine, and I a factor at Canton. By frequently conversing with the English there, he has learned the language, though he is entirely a stranger to their manners and customs. I am told he is a philosopher; I am sure he is an honest man: that to you will be his best recommendation, next to the consideration of his being the friend of, Sir,
Lond. From Lien Chi Altangi to ****, Merchant in Amsterdam.
Friend of my heart,
MAY the wings of peace rest upon thy dwelling, and the shield of conscience preserve thee from vice and misery! For all thy favours accept my gratitude and esteem, the only tributes a poor philosophic wanderer can return. Sure, fortune is resolved to make me unhappy, when she gives others a power of testifying their friendship by actions, and leaves me only words to express the sincerity of mine.
I am perfectly sensible of the delicacy with which you endeavour to lessen your own merit and my obligations. By calling your late instances of friendship only a return for former favours, you would induce me to impute to your justice what I owe to your generosity.
The services I did you at Canton, justice, humanity, and my office bade me perform: those you have done me since my arrival at Amsterdam, no laws obliged you to, no justice required, even half your favours would have been greater than my most sanguine expectations.
The sum of money therefore which you privately conveyed into my baggage, when I was leaving Holland, and which I was ignorant of till my arrival in London, I must beg leave to return. You have been bred a merchant, and I a scholar; you consequently love money better than 1. You can find pleasure in superfluity; I am perfectly content with what is sufficient; take therefore what is yours, it may give you some pleasure, even though you
have no occasion to use it; my happiness it cannot improve, for I have already all that I want.
My passage by sea from Rotterdam to England was more painful to me than all the journies I ever
made on land.
I have traversed the immeasurable wilds of Mogul Tartary; felt all the rigours of Siberian skies, I have had my repose an hundred times disturbed by invading savages, and have seen without shrinking, the desart sands rise like a troubled ocean all around me : against these calamities I was armed with resolution; but in my passage to England, though nothing occurred that gave the mariners any uneasiness, to one who was never at sea before, all was a subject of astonishment and terror. To find the land disappear, to see our ship mount the waves swift as an arrow from the Tartar bow, to hear the wind howling through the cordage, to feel a sickness which depresses even the spirits of the brave; these were unexpected distresses, and consequently assaulted me unprepared to receive them.
You men of Europe think nothing of a voyage by 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 there is not even a name for the ocean. Whata strange people therefore am I got amongst, who have founded an empire on this unstable element, who build cities upon billows that rise higher than the mountains of Tipertala, and make the deep more formidable than the wildest tempest.
Such accounts as these, I must confess, were my first motives for seeing England. These-induced me to undertake a journey of seven hundred painful days, in order to examine its opulence, buildings, sciences, arts and manufactures, on the spot. Judge, then my disappointment on entering London, to see no signs of that opulence so much talked of abroad: wherever