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

You tell me the people of Europe are wife? but

where lies their wifdom? You say they are valiant too; yet I have some reasons to doubt of their valour. They are engaged in war among each other, yet apply to the Ruffians, their neighbours, and ours for affiftance. Cultivating such an alliance argues at once imprudence and timidity. All subsidies paid for such an aid is ftrengthening the Russians, already too powerful, and weakening the employers, already exhausted by intestine commotions.

I cannot avoid beholding the Ruffian empire as the natural enemy of the more western parts of Europe; as an enemy already poffeffed of great strength, and, from the nature of the government, every day threatening to become more powerful. This extenfive empire, which, both in Europe and Afia, occupies almoft a third of the old world, was, about two centuries ago, divided into separate kingdoms and dukedoms, and from fuch a divi fion, confequently feeble. Since the time, however, of Johan Bafilides, it has increased in strength and extent; and thofe untrodden forests, those innumerable favage animals, which formerly covered the face of the country are now removed, and colonies of mankind planted in their room. A kingdom thus enjoying peace internally, poffeffed of an unbounded extent of dominion, and learning the military art at the expence of others abroad, must

[ocr errors]


every day grow more powerful; and it is probable, we fhall hear Ruffia, in future times, as formerly, called the Officina Gentium.

It was long the wifh of Peter, their great monarch, to have a fort in fome of the western parts of Europe; many of his schemes and treaties were directed to this end, but happily for Europe, he failed in them all. A fort in the power of this people, would be like the poffeffion of a flood-gate; and whenever ambition, intereft, or neceffity prompted, they might then be able to deluge the whole world with a barbarous inundation.

Believe me, my friend, I cannot fufficiently contemn the politics of Europe, who thus make this powerful people arbitrators in their quarrel. The Ruffians are now at that period between refinement and barbarity, which feems moft adapted to military achievement; and if once they happen to get footing in the western parts of Europe, it is not the feeble efforts of the fons of ef feminacy and diffention that can serve to remove them. The fertile valley and foft climate will ever be fufficient inducements to draw whole myriads from their native deferts, the tracklefs wild, or fnowy mountain.

Hiftory, experience, reason, nature, expand the book of wisdom before the eyes of mankind, but they will not read. We have feen with terror a winged phalanx of famished locufts, each fingly contemptible, but from multitude become hidious, cover, like clouds, the face of day, and threaten the whole world with ruin. We have seen them fettling on the fertile plains of India and Egypt, deftroying in an inftant, the labours and the hopes of nations! fparing neither the fruit of the earth, nor the verdure of the fields, and changing into a frightful

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

defert, landscapes of once luxuriant beauty. We have
feen myriads of ants iffuing together from the fouthern
defert like a torrent, whofe fource was inexhaustible,
fucceeding each other without end, and renewing their
destroyed forces with unwearied perseverance, bringing
defolation wherever they came, banishing men and an-
imals, and, when deftitute of all fubfiftence, in heaps
infecting the wilderness which they had made! Like
these have been the migrations of men. When as yet
favage, and almost resembling their brute partners in the
foreft, fubject like them only to the instincts of nature,
and directed by hunger alone in the choice of an abode,
how have we seen whole armies starting wild at once from
their foreft and their dens; Goths, Huns, Vandals, Sa-
racens, Turks, Tartars, myriads of men, animals in hu
man form, without country, without name, without laws,
out-powering by numbers all oppofition, ravaging cities,
overturning empires, and after having destroyed whole
nations, and spread extenfive defolation, how have we
feen them fink oppreffed by fome new enemy, more bar.
barous and even, more unknown than they! Adieu.



As the inftruction of the fair fex in this country is

entirely committed to the care of foreigners, as their

[ocr errors]

language-mafters, mufic-mafters, hair-frizzers, and governeffes, are all from abroad, I had fome intentions of opening a female academy myfelf, and made no doubt, as I was quite a foreigner, of meeting a favourable reception.

In this I intended to instruct the ladies in all the conjugal myfteries; wives should be taught the art of managing husbands, and maids the skill of properly chufing them; I would teach a wife how far fhe might venture to be fick without giving disgust, she should be acquainted with the great benefits of the cholic in the stomach, and all the thorough bred infolence of fashion; maids should learn the secret of nicely diftinguishing every competitor; they should be able to know the difference between a pedant and a scholar, a citizen and a prig, a squire and his horse, a beau and his monkey; but chiefly, they fhould be taught the art of managing their fmiles, from the contemptuous fimper to the long laborious laugh.

But I have difcontinued the project; for what would fignify teaching ladies the manner of governing or chufing husbands, when marriage is at present so much out of fashion, that a lady is very well off who can get any husband at all. Celebacy now prevails in every rank of life; the ftreets are crouded with old bachelors, and the houses with ladies who have refused good offers, and are never likely to receive any for the future.

The only advice, therefore, I could give the fair sex, as things ftand at prefent, is to get husbands as faft as they can. There is certainly nothing in the whole creation, not even Babylon in ruins, more truly deplorable, than a lady in the virgin bloom of fixty-three, or a battered unmarried beau, who squibs about from place to place,

fhewing his pig-tail-wig and his ears. The one appears to my imagination in the form of a double night-cap, or a roll of pomatum, the other in the fhape of an electuary, or a box of pills.

I would once more, therefore, advise the ladies to get husbands. I would defire them not to discard an old lover without very fufficient reason, nor treat the new with ill-nature, till they know him false; let not prudes alledge the falfenefs of the fex, coquets the pleasures of long courtship, or parents the neceffary preliminaries of penny for penny. I have reafons that would filence even a casuist in this particular. In the first place, therefore, I divide the subject into fifteen heads, and then fic argumentor—but not to give you and myself the spleen, be contented at present with an Indian tale.

In a winding of the river Amidar, juft before it falls into the Caspian sea, there lies an island unfrequented by the inhabitants of the continent. In this feclufion, blest with all that wild uncultivated nature could beftow, lived a princess and her two daughters. She had been wrecked upon the coaft while her children as yet were infants, who, of confequence, though grown up, were entirely unacquainted with man. Yet, unexperienced as the young ladies were in the oppofite fex, both early dif covered fymptoms, the one of prudery, the other of being a coquet. The eldeft was ever learning maxims of wisdom and discretion from her mamma, while the youngest employed all her hours in gazing at her own face in a neighbouring fountain.

Their usual amusement in this folitude was fifhing: their mother had taught them all the fecrets of the art: fhe fhewed them which was the most likely places to

« VorigeDoorgaan »