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lude to his apotheofis: a set of emissaries are dispatched among the people to cry up his piety, gravity, and love of raw flesh; the people take them at their word, approach the Lama, now become an idol, with the most humble proftration; he receives their addreffes without motion, commences a god, and is ever after fed by his priests with the spoon of immortality. The fame receipt in this country ferves to make a great man. The idol only keeps close, fends out his little emiffaries to be hear ty in his praise, and ftraight, whether statesman or author, he is fet down in the lift of fame, continuing to be praised while it is fashionable to praise, or while he prudently keeps his minutenefs concealed from the public.
I have vifited many countries, and have been in cities without number, yet never did I enter a town which could not produce ten or twelve of thofe little great men, all fancying themselves known to the rest of the world, and complimenting each other upon their extensive reputation. It is amufing enough when two of those domeftic prodigies of learning mount the ftage of ceremony, and give and take praise from each other. I have been present when a German doctor, for having pronounced a panegyric upon a certain monk, was thought the most ingenious man in the world, till the monk foon after divided this reputation, by returning the compliment; by which means they both marched off with universal ap'plaufe.
The fame degree of undeferved adulation that attends our great man while living, often also follows him to the tomb. It frequently happens, that one of his little admirers fits down big with the important subject, and is delivered of the history of his life and writings. This may
properly be called the revolutions of life between the firefide and the easy chair. In this we learn the year in which he was born, at what an early age he gave symp. toms of uncommon genius and application, together with fome of his fmart fayings, collected by his aunt and mother, while yet but a boy. The next book introduces him to the university, where we are informed of his amazing progress in learning, his excellent skill in darning ftockings, and his new invention for papering books to fave the covers. He next makes his appearance in the republic of letters, and publishes his folio. Now the Coloffus is reared, his works are eagerly bought up by all the purchafers of fcarce books. The learned focieties invite him to become a member; he disputes against fome foreigner with a long Latin name, conquers in the controverfy, is complimented by feveral authors of gravity and importance, is exceffively fond of eggfauce with his pig, becomes president of a literary club, and dies in the meridian of his glory. Happy they, who thus have fome little faithful attendant, who never forfakes them, but prepares to wrangle and to praise against every opposer; at once ready to increase their pride while living, and their character when dead. For you and I, my friend, who have no humble admirer thus to attend us, we, who neither are, nor ever will be, great men, and who do not much care whether we are great men or no, at least let us strive to be honest men, and to have common fenfe.
TO THE SAME.
THERE are numbers in this city who live by writing
new books, and yet there are thousands of volumes in every large library unread and forgotten. This, upon my arrival, was one of thofe contradictions which I was unable to account for. Is it poffible, faid I, that there fhould be any demand for new books, before those already published are read? Can there be fo many employed in producing a commodity, with which the market is already overstocked; and with goods also better than any of modern manufacture?
What at firft view appeared an inconfiftence, is a proof at once of this people's wifdom and refinement. Even allowing the works of their ancestors better written than theirs, yet those of the moderns acquire a real value, by being marked with the impreffion of the times. Antiquity has been in the possession of others, the present is our own; let us, first, therefore, learn to know what belongs to ourselves, and then, if we have leifure, cast our reflections back to the reign of Shonou, who governed twenty thousand years before the creation of the moon. The volumes of antiquity, like medals, may very well ferve to amufe the curious, but the works of the moderns, like the current coin of a kingdom, are much better for immediate ufe; the former are often prized above their intrinfic value, and kept with care; the latter feldom pafs for more than they are worth, and are often. subject to the merciless hands of fweating critics, and
clipping compilers; the works of antiquity were ever praised, those of the moderns read; the treasures of our ancestors have our esteem, and we boast the paffion : those of cotemporary genius engage our hearts, although we blush to own it. The vifits we pay the former resemble those we pay the great; the ceremony is troublefome, and yet fuch as we would not chuse to forego; our acquaintance with modern books, is like fitting with a friend, our pride is not flattered in the interview, but it gives more internal fatisfaction.
In proportion as fociety refines, new books must ever become more neceffary. Savage rufticity is reclaimed by moral admonition alone; but the elegant exceffes of refinement are beft corrected by the ftill voice of studious inquiry. In a polite age, almost every person becomes a reader, and receives more inftruction from the prefs than the pulpit. The preaching Bonse may inftruct the illiterate peasant; but nothing less than the infinuating address of a fine writer can win its way to an heart al ready relaxed in all the effeminacy of refinement. Books are necessary to correct the vices of the polite, but those vices are ever changing, and the antidote should be changed accordingly, should still be new.
Instead, therefore, of thinking the number of new publications here too great, I could wish it ftill greater, as they are the most useful inftruments of reformation. Every country must be instructed either by writers or preachers; but as the number of readers increases the number of hearers is proportionably diminished; the writer becomes more ufeful, and the preaching Bonse less neceffary.
Inftead, therefore, of complaining that writers are overpaid, when their works procure them a bare subfiftence, I should imagine it the duty of a state, not only to encourage their numbers, but their industry. A Bonfe is rewarded with immense riches for inftructing only a few, even of the most ignorant of the people; and fure the poor scholar fhould not beg his bread, who is capable of instructing a million.
Of all rewards, I grant, the most pleasing to man of real merit, is fame; but a polite age, of all times, is that in which scarce any fhare of merit can acquire it. What numbers of fine writers in the latter empire of Rome, when refinement was carried to the highest pitch, have missed that fame and immortality which they had fondly arrogated to themselves? How many Greek authors, who wrote at that period when Conftantinople was the refined mistress of the empire, now reft, either not printed, or not read, in the libraries of Europe! Those who came first, while either ftate as yet was barbarous, carried all the reputation away. Authors, as the age refined, became more numerous, and their numbers destroyed their fame. It is but natural, therefore, for the writer, when conscious that his works will not procure him fame hereafter, to endeavour to make them turn out to his temporal interest here.
Whatever be the motives which induce men to write, whether avarice or fame, the country becomes most wife and happy, in which they most serve for inftructors. The countries where facerdotal inftruction alone is permitted, remain in ignorance, fuperftition, and hopeless flavery. In England, where there are as many new books published as in all the reft of Europe together, a fpirit of free