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robber walks his midnight round, and the fuicide lifts his guilty arm against his own facred person.

Let me no longer wafte the night over the page of antiquity, or the fallies of cotemporary genius, but purfue the folitary walk, where vanity, ever changing, but a few hours paft, walked before me, where fhe kept up the pageant, and now, like a froward child, feems hushed with her own importunities.

What a gloom hangs all round! The dying lamp feebly emits a yellow gleam, no found is heard but of the chiming clock, or the diftant watch-dog. All the buftle of human pride is forgotten; an hour like this may well display the emptiness of human vanity.

There will come a time when this temporary folitude may be made continual, and the city itself, like its inhabitants, fade away, and leave a defert in its room.

What cities, as great as this, have once triumphed in exiftence, had their victories as great, joy as juft and as unbounded, and with fhort-fighted prefumption promised themselves immortality. Pofterity can hardly trace the fituation of fome. The forrowful traveller wanders over the awful ruins of others; and as he beholds, he learns wisdom, and feels the tranfience of every fublunary poffeffion.

Here, he cries, ftood their citadel, now grown over with weeds; there their fenate-house, but now the haunt of every noxious reptile; temples and theatres flood here, now only an undistinguished heap of ruin. They are fallen, for luxury and avarice firft made them feeble. The rewards of flate where conferred on amusing, and not on useful members of fociety. Their riches and opulence invited the invaders, who, though at firft re.

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pulfed, returned again, conquered by perseverance, and at last swept the defendants into undistinguished destruction.

How few appear in those ftreets, which but fome few hours ago were crouded; and those who appear now no longer wear their daily mask, nor attempt to hide their lewdness or their misery.

But who are those who make the streets their couch, and find a fhort repofe from wretchedness at the doors of the opulent? These are strangers, wanderers, and orphans, whofe circumftances are too humble to expect redress, and whose distresses are too great even for pity. Their wretchedness excites rather horror than pity. Some are without the covering even of rags, and others emaciated with disease; the world has difclaimed them fociety turns its back upon their distress, and has given them up to nakedness and hunger. These poor fhivering females have once feen happier days, and been flattered into beauty. They have been prostituted to the gay, luxurious villain, and are now turned out to meet the severity of winter. Perhaps, now lying at the doors of their betrayers, they fue to wretches whose hearts are infenfible, or debauchees who may curfe, but will not relieve, them.

Why, why was I born a man, and yet see the suffering of wretches I cannot relieve! Poor houseless creatures! the world will give you reproaches, but will not give you relief. The flightest misfortunes of the great, the most imaginary uneafinefs of the rich, are aggravated with all the power of eloquence, and held up to engage our attention and sympathetic forrow. The poor weep unheeded, perfecuted by every fubor

dinate fpecies of tyranny; and every law, which gives others fecurity, becomes an enemy to them.

Why was this heart of mine formed with fo much fenfibility; or why was not my fortune adapted to its impulse! Tenderness, without a capacity of relieving, only makes the man who feels it more wretched than the object which fues for affiftance. Adieu.

LETTER CXVIII.

FUM HOAM, TO LIEN CHI ALTANGI, THE DIS-
CONTENTED WANDERER; BY THE WAY OF
MOSCOW.

I HAVE been juft fent upon an embassy to Japan;

my commiffion is to be dispatched in four days; and you can hardly conceive the pleasure I fhall find upon revisiting my native country. I fhall leave with joy this proud, barbarous, inhofpitable region, where every object conspires to diminish my fatisfaction, and increase my patriotism.

But though I find the inhabitants favage, yet the Dutch merchants who are permitted to trade hither feem ftill more deteftable. They have raised my diflike to Europe in general; by them I learn how low avarice can degrade human nature; how many indignities an European will fuffer for gain.

I was present at an audience given by the emperor to the Dutch envoy, who had fent feveral presents to all the courtiers fome days previous to his admiffion;

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but he was obliged to attend those designed for the em peror himself. From the accounts I had heard of this ceremony, my curiofity prompted me to be a spectator of the whole.

First went the presents, set out on beautiful enamelled tables, adorned with flowers, borne on men's fhoulders, and followed by Japanese mufic and dancers. From so great refpect paid to the gifts themfelves, I had fancied the donors must have received almoft divine honours. But about a quarter of an hour after the presents had been carried in triumph, the envoy and his train were brought forward. They were covered from head to foot with long black veils, which prevented their feeing, each led by a conductor, chofen from the meaneft of the people. In this dishonourable manner, having traversed the city of Jedo, they at length arrived at the palacegate, and after waiting half an hour were admitted into the guard-room. Here their eyes were uncovered, and in about an hour the gentleman usher introduced them into the hall of audience. The emperor was at length fhewn fitting in a kind of alcove at the upper end of the room, and the Dutch envoy was conducted towards the throne.

As foon as he had approached within a certain distance, the gentleman ufher cried out with a loud voice, Holanda Capitan; upon these words the envoy fell flat upon the ground, and crept upon his hands and feet towards the throne. Still approaching, he reared himself upon his knees, and then bowed his forehead to the ground. These ceremonies being over, he was directed to withdraw, ftill groveling on his belly, and going backward like a lobfter.

Men must be exceffively fond of riches when they are earned with fuch circumstances of abject fubmiffion. Do the Europeans worship Heaven itself with marks of more profound respect? Do they confer those honours on the fupreme of beings, which they pay to a barbarous king, who gives them a permiffion to purchase trinkets and porcelain? What a glorious exchange, to forfeit the national honour, and even their title to humanity, for a fcreen or a snuff-box.

If these ceremonies effayed in the firft audience appeared mortifying, thofe which are practifed in the fecond are infinitely more fo. In the second audience, the emperor and the ladies of the court were placed behind lattices, in fuch a manner as to fee without being feen. Here all the Europeans were directed to pass in review, and grovel and act the serpent as before: with this fpectacle, the whole court feemed highly delighted. The strangers were asked a thousand ridiculous questions; as their names and their ages: they were ordered to write, to ftand upright, to fit, to ftoop, to compliment each other, to be drunk, to speak the Japanese language, to talk Dutch, to fing, to eat; in short, they were ordered to do all that could fatisfy the curiofity of women.

Imagine, my dear Altangi, a set of grave men thus transformed into buffoons, and acting a part every whit as honourable as that of thofe inftructed animals which are fhewn in the streets of Pekin to the mob on a holiday. Yet the ceremony did not end here, for every great lord of the court was to be visited in the fame manner, and their ladies, who took the whim from their husbands, were all equally fond of feeing the ftrangers perform, even the children feeming highly diverted with the dancing Dutchmen.

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