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ties may often be so regulated as to become useful even to those that pay them; and they may be likewise so unequally imposed as to discourage honesty, and depress industry, and give temptation to fraud and unlawful practices.
To teach all this is the design of the Commercial Dictionary ; which, though immediately and primarily written for the merchants, will be of use to every man of business or curiosity. There is no man who is not in some degree a merchant, who has not something to buy and something to sell, and who does not therefore want such instructions as may teach him the true value of possessions or commodities.
The descriptions of the productions of the earth and water, which this volume will contain, may be equally pleasing and useful to the speculatist with any other natural history; and the accounts of various manufactures will constitute no contemptible body of experimental philosophy. The descriptions of ports and cities may instruct the geographer as well as if they were found in books appropriated only to his own science; and the doctrines of funds, insurances, currency, monopolies, exchanges, and duties, is so necessary to the politician, that without it he can be of no use either in the council or the senate, nor can speak or think justly either on war or trade.
We therefore hope that we shall not repent the labour of compiling this work ; nor flatter ourselves unreasonably, in predicting a favourable reception to a book which no condition of life can render useless, which may contribute to the advantage of all that make or receive laws, of all that buy or sell, of all
that wish to keep or improve their possessions, of all that desire to be rich, and all that desire to be wise *.
* Of this preface, Mr. Boswell informs us that Dr. Johnson said he never saw Rolt, and never read the book. “ The booksellers wanted a preface to a Dictionary of Trade and Commerce. I knew very well what such a dictionary should be, and I wrote a preface accordingly.” This may be believed; but the book is a most wretched farrago of articles plundered without acknowledgment, or judgment, which, indeed, was the case with most of Rolt's compilations.
TO THE TRANSLATION OF
FATHER LOBO'S VOYAGE TO
THE following relation is so curious and entertaining, and the dissertations that accompany it so judicious and instructive, that the translator is confident his attempt stands in need of no apology, whatever censures may fall on the performance.
The Portuguese traveller, contrary to the general vein of his countrymen, has amused his reader with no romantick absurdities or incredible fictions : whatever he relates, whether true or not, is at least probable; and he who tells nothing exceeding the bounds of probability, has a right to demand that they should believe him who cannot contradict him.
He appears, by his modest and unaffected narration, to have described things as he saw them, to have copied nature from the life, and to have consulted his senses, not his imagination. He meets
* For an account of this book, see the Life of Dr. Johnson, by Mr. Murphy.
with no basilisks that destroy with their eyes ; his crocodiles devour their prey without tears; and his cataracts fall from the rock without deafening the neighbouring inhabitants. .
The reader will here find no regions cursed with irremediable barrenness, or blest with spontaneous fecundity; no perpetual gloom or unceasing sunshine ; nor are the nations here described either devoid of all sense of humanity, or consummate in all private and social virtues : here are no Hottentots without religion, polity, or articulate language; no Chinese perfectly polite, and completely skilled in all sciences : he will discover what will always be discovered by a diligent and impartial inquirer, that wherever human nature is to be found, there is a mixture of vice and virtue, a contest of passion and reason ; and that the Creator doth not appear partial in his distributions, but has balanced in most countries their particular inconveniences by particular favours.
In his account of the mission, where his veracity is most to be suspected, he neither exaggerates over-much the merits of the jesuits, if we consider the partial regard paid by the Portuguese to their countrymen, by the jesuits to their society, and by the papists to their church, nor aggravates the vices of the Abyssinians; but if the reader will not be satisfied with a popish account of a popish mission, he may have recourse to the History of the Church of Abyssinia, written by Dr. Geddes, in which he will find the actions and sufferings of the missiona ries placed in a different light, though the same in which Mr. Le Grand, with all his zeal for the Roman church, appears to have seen them.
This learned dissertator, however valuable for his industry and erudition, is yet more to be esteemed for having dared so freely, in the midst of France, to declare his disapprobation of the patriarch Oviedo's sanguinary zeal, who was continually importuning the Portuguese to beat up their drums for missionaries who might preach the gospel with swords in their hands, and propagate by desolation and slaughter the true worship of the God of peace.
It is not easy to forbear reflecting with how little reason these men profess themselves the followers of Jesus, who left this great characteristick to his disciples, that they should be known by loving one another, by universal and unbounded charity and benevolence.
Let us suppose an inhabitant of some remote and superior region, yet unskilled in the ways of men, having read and considered the precepts of the gospel, and the example of our Saviour, to come down in search of the true church. If he would not enquire after it among the cruel, the insolent, and the oppressive; among those who are continually grasping at dominion over souls as well as bodies; among those who are employed in procuring to themselves impunity for the most enormous villanies, and studying methods of destroying their fellow creatures, not for their crimes but their errors if he would not expect to meet benevolence engage in massacres, or to find mercy in a court of inquisition, he would not look for the true church in the church of Rome.
Mr. Le Grand has given in one dissertation an example of great moderation, in deviating from the